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Wireless Networking Hardware Technology

802.11n Should Be Finalized By September 104

adeelarshad82 writes "It's probable that the 802.11n standard will finally be approved at a scheduled IEEE meeting this September, ending a contentious round of infighting that has delayed the standard for years. For the 802.11n standard, progress has been agonizingly slow, dating back almost five years to 2004, when 802.11g held sway. It struggled throughout 2005 and 2006, when members supposedly settled on the TGnSync standard, then formed the Enhanced Wireless Consortium in 2006 to speed the process along. A draft version of 802.11n was approved in January 2006, prompting the first wave of routers based on the so-called draft-n standard shortly thereafter."
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802.11n Should Be Finalized By September

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  • by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @11:44AM (#28770637) Journal

    Or Draft-N will be a subset of N such that N compliance implies Draft-N compliance.

  • Re:Hooray, I guess? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @11:50AM (#28770739) Homepage

    Try streaming HD video, especially when there is some distance between you and your access point. Then you will understand why N is long overdue.

  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @12:02PM (#28770921)

    Will the final version be (backwards?) compatible with Draft-N routers and wireless cards?

    Quite likely, actually. As long as your wireless devices are WiFi Draft N capable. There are two "waves" of Draft N devices (2.5, if you want to go technical). The first was released sometime around 2006 or so, and they were early revision Draft N, the ones that everyone basically said "Avoid at all costs" because of incompatibilities, interference, etc. These are most likely NOT going to work with 802.11n. The "half" wave came shortly after, where we had a flood of 802.11g routers with "extended range" and "MIMO" - they are basically early revision N wireless except re-badged as working with 802.11b/g, and using the N bits to give better range and speed.

    Then in late 2007/2008, came what we know currently as Draft N, when the WiFi Alliance (no relation to IEEE - the WiFi Alliance is a consortium of manufacturers to ensure interoperability) decided to start testing and approving devices based on the final draft spec. These will have the WiFi logo with Draft N in it, being approved for Draft N "standard" and compliance. Part of the requirement was that it was firmware upgradable to 802.11n when it finally came out. Whether or not a firmware upgrade will come out, though is another question.

    Depending on how the WiFi Alliance holds out, they may require that all WiFi-N devices must support Draft N. Or they may just say "screw you all" and make them incompatible.

    The IEEE is the stadnards body behind the spec, 802.11 being the wireless part, 802.3 being Ethernet, etc. They write the spec. Thus, standards compliance includes 802.11b/g/n, which are documents on how these devices are to work.

    WiFi is a trademark of the WiFI Alliance, so technically, calling 802.11? devices "WiFi" is incorrect, as only tested an approved devices carry the WiFi trademark stamp. They approve devices after doing interoperability testing, figuring out that consumers would be best served if devices actually interoperate (and thus everyone can sell more). Thus they created the WiFi trademark, and the approval stamps you see WiFI A, WiFi-B, WiFi G, WiFi Draft N, and soon, WiFi N.

  • by The Archon V2.0 ( 782634 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @12:12PM (#28771039)

    I know Buffalo Tech has discontinued the infiniti N router of mine.

    There's some DLink Draft-N wireless cards that don't - and apparently won't ever - have XP SP3 compatible drivers.

  • by Elros ( 735454 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @12:20PM (#28771125) Homepage

    The problem with that theory is that most products don't plainly say it is based on a draft protocol. They simply say they are based on 802.11N. Any indication that it is a draft is hidden in fine print (if there at all).

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann