By Carmen Nobel  |  Posted 2003-12-22 Print this article Print

.11n Lowdown"> "Were not going to slow down for the standard," said Thomas Lagatta, group vice president of Broadcoms Enterprise Computing Group. Broadcom used a similar strategy with 802.11g, offering products based on a draft version of the standard that the company called "54g" months before 802.11g was ratified.

The IEEE didnt like it. "It is improper to claim compliance with a standard or any amendment that has not yet been approved," the IEEEs Kerry said, in a letter to working group members last year.

Officials at Broadcom competitor Atheros Communications Inc. declined to comment on the companys plans for 802.11n, saying only that they are keeping an eye on it and dont expect ratification for two to three years. Like Broadcom, Atheros did release prestandard 802.11g products but not before officials at the Sunnyvale, Calif., company were certain the products would be upgradable to the standard.

802.11n Lowdown

  • Purpose To raise the effective throughput of WLANs to at least 100M bps
  • What this entails Defining standardized modifications to the 802.11 physical layers and MAC layers, which will improve not just data rates but also actual data throughput
  • Frequency Most likely the 5GHz range, meaning possible compatibility with 802.11a
  • Ratification date 2005-2006
  • The 802.11n standard should improve wireless multimedia applications, but enterprise users may be too busy dealing with the current 802.11 alphabet to look forward to a future version. Officials at Broadcom customer Cisco Systems Inc. said their customers have asked about 802.11n but have hardly demanded it.

    "We have standardized on 802.11b and will stay there for the foreseeable future," said Jorge Abellas-Martin, CIO of Arnold Worldwide, in Boston, and an eWEEK Corporate Partner. "The folks we have who need that kind of bandwidth will plug a cable in to get gigabit speeds."

    Meanwhile, Broadcom is working on other wireless products that blend WLAN and WAN technologies. The firm is in talks with multiple companies, including Qualcomm Inc. and Motorola Inc., to develop phones that support wireless voice over IP on WLANs, Lagatta said.

    Broadcom has also developed a new phone with Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB that runs on Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution, or EDGE, networks. It will ship in the first half of next year.


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