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802.11n, 802.15.3 join network stew

Aug 27, 20032 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork Security

* Still more wireless nets emerge

Last time, I discussed complementary efforts by the IEEE and a multivendor group called the ZigBee Alliance to build low-power, inexpensive networks for remote monitoring and control of widgets and sensors such as light switches and security alarms.

Meanwhile, at least two other related networks are looming on the horizon. 802.11n networks, for example, are reportedly in development to deliver 100M bit/sec actual throughput in wireless LANs as a progression of the 802.11b, a and g alphabet soup. Details are scarce, but word on the street is that this spec will take about three years to develop. So don’t let it stop you from solving business problems with today’s wireless LAN technology.

Meanwhile, another IEEE 802.15-type wireless personal-area network standard is in the works, this one for multimedia streaming over wireless networks. The 802.15.3 standard purports to connect as many as 245 wireless fixed and portable devices at speeds to 55M bit/sec over distances to 100 meters.

802.15.3, like its other 802.15 brethren and 802.11b networks, operates in the 2.4-GHz unlicensed frequency band. It specifies raw data rates of 11M, 22M, 33M, 44M and 55M bit/sec. The highest rate will reportedly support low-latency, multimedia connections and large file transfers, while 11M bit/sec and 22M bit/sec rates reportedly target long-range connectivity for audio devices. For quality of service, the standard specifies the use of Time Division Multiple Access.

Yet another industry group, the WiMedia Alliance, will help accelerate the adoption of 802.15.3. This group is somewhat analogous to the ZigBee Alliance, mentioned last time, which is enhancing and promoting 802.15.4 networks, and the Wi-Fi Alliance, which does the same for 802.11-based LANs.