It\u2019s been a long time since I mentioned 802.11n, the next generation of Wi-Fi that will bring higher speeds and other advantages to the wireless LAN table.A year ago, 802.11n was a gleam in the industry\u2019s eye. Today, 60-odd partial or complete proposals for how to achieve above-100M bit\/sec WLAN speeds have been submitted to the IEEE 802.11 Working Group, which will review them in mid-September.Faster Wi-Fi LANs will allow the industry more wiggle room for applications such as VoIP, which can clobber performance in highly utilized Wi-Fi networks when many VoIP callers associate to a single access point, particularly in 11M bit\/sec 802.11b environments.At this juncture, the Wi-Fi industry has one of those situations in which two large competing consortia, each with its own complete 802.11n proposal, could threaten to stall standards. Both camps have included multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) technology - the fair-haired wireless child of the decade for spectral efficiency - in their proposals. It is also likely that the ultimate standard will include provisions for power management.\u201cBattery life [in client devices] needs to extend from hours to days,\u201d says Sheung Li, a product line manager at Atheros Communications and TGn Sync coalition\u2019s representative to the IEEE 802.11 Working Group. TGn Sync is one of the two large vendor groups that has submitted an 802.11n proposal. Its proposal includes a power management provision, including a way to enable products to operate in very low power modes.TGn Sync\u2019s proposal calls for 243M bit\/sec Wi-Fi speeds with two antennas and up to 600M bit\/sec with four. Its members include Agere, Atheros, Cisco, Intel, Marvell, Nokia, Nortel, Royal Philips, Samsung, Sanyo, Sony and Toshiba.The proposal of the other major group, WWiSE (for \u201cWorldwide Spectral Efficiency\u201d), comprising Airgo Networks, Bermai, Broadcom, Conexant Systems, STMicroelectronic and TI, aims for 135M bit\/sec mandatory speeds using two antennas and up to 540M bit\/sec in optional mode using four antennas.Rolf De Vegt, business representative for Airgo in the WWiSE group of companies, notes that WWiSE is not charging any royalties to vendors who build according to the WWiSE spec. \u201cWe believe that this is a different model and will lower costs,\u201d he says.Analysts expect the 802.11n standard to appear in roughly 18 months.