Proposals Stream in for Faster Wi-Fi Standard

An IEEE working group will soon begin evaluating proposals for the next-generation standard, 802.11n, which promises speeds fast enough for an influx of new wireless applications.

September is slated to bring the first comprehensive look at what is likely to be the future of Wi-Fi: 802.11n.

In Berlin on Sept. 13, the IEEE 802.11n Task Group (TGn) will consider official proposals from numerous companies on what the specifications should be for the next-generation standard, which promises speeds fast enough for an influx of new wireless applications.

Although a ratified standard isnt expected until late 2006, the first wave of 802.11n products could arrive in the first quarter of 2005. "Theres a good chance youll see products by then that will be software upgradable to the n standard," said Mary Cramer, strategic marketing manager at Agere Systems.

In the past, users—and consumers with home networks in particular—have purchased early products well in advance of ratification of Wi-Fi standards.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about one industry coalitions 802.11n proposal.

Agere Systems founded TGn Sync, one of the most powerful consortiums yet to deliver a proposal. Cisco, Intel, Nokia, Nortel, Philips, Sony and many more companies are members.

TGn Syncs proposal gives a glimpse of how much impact the 802.11n standard may have on everything from digital homes to wireless offices.

"Were focusing on 40-MHz channel bandwidth [double the current 20-MHz bandwidth], backward compatibility with a, b and g, and shooting for a data rate of 250 Mbps with actual throughput of around 175 Mbps," Cramer said.

To put that in perspective, 802.11g has a quoted data rate of 54 Mbps, but actual data rates are about half that.

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