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802.11n spec receives first green light

Jan 16, 20062 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork SecurityWi-Fi

* High-speed Wi-Fi spec on way to IEEE

At press time, the Enhanced Wireless Consortium’s proposed specification for a high-speed 802.11n wireless LAN standard had earned its first necessary approval and was en route for submission to the IEEE as a draft standard.

The Joint Proposal Team of the IEEE 802.11 Task Group N last week voted unanimously to adopt the EWC’s 802.11n specification for a 100Mbps+ WLAN that uses multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) technologies to increase throughput.

The specification merges proposals from previously separate vendor groups and incorporates additional technical specifications to improve range, save power, and maximize antenna diversity to better accommodate the requirements of handsets and consumer electronics products. By garnering more than 75% approval of a quorum (60% of the membership), last week’s vote freed the joint team to present the specification to the IEEE as a draft standard at its bi-monthly meeting, taking place this week in Waikoloa, Hawaii.

Presuming that the spec is, indeed, presented to the IEEE this week as a Draft 1.0 specification for review, the industry generally interprets such a step as a sign that a specification is mature enough to create early compliant chipsets. That step is generally followed by the emergence of retail products, then enterprise products.

“Pre-standard” 802.11n products based on Airgo Networks’ True MIMO chipsets are currently available in the retail sector from Belkin, Linksys and Netgear. Airgo company literature says its existing products will work with standards-based 802.11n products in the future because True MIMO is – and standard 802.11n technology will be – backward-compatible with existing 802.11a/b/g networks.

The mission of the Joint Proposal Team and the EWC, formed last October, was to create a compromise proposal that could be submitted to the IEEE as basis for the 802.11n standard. They were tasked with breaking a technology impasse surrounding competing 802.11n proposals.