[qi:gigaom_icon_routers] IEEE has finally put the finishing touches on the much-awaited 802.11n high speed Wi-Fi standard, seven years after the process started. In the interim, a whole bunch of companies have released draft 802.11n equipment. Glen Fleishman puts it best when he says, “Somebody go put masking tape over the word ‘draft’ on all those Wi-Fi boxes.”
2 thoughts on “802.11n Is Official, Finally”
There’s a world of difference between 802.11_ “compliant” and 802.11_ “certified”. The difference being that “certified” can be mixed and matched without much worry of compatibility issues, “compliant” is much more of a gamble.
That said, I hate the marketing of 802.11n. For most consumers who only use WiFi for wireless internet access in their home, the upgrade won’t result in any increase in performance since 802.11g is still faster than most home broadband connections. Most consumer grade equipment in an average home can easily handle 15Mbps. Most connections don’t even advertise above 12Mbps, and it’s rare you see that. MIMO may result in some better signal quality, though at this point anyone who is wireless already has figured out where to add a repeater or upgrade an antenna to fix those blind spots.
The Wi-Fi certification and the logos are separate from the final standard being ratified by the IEEE. In fact, the WI-Fi Alliance (the group that does the testing and hands out the logos to the vendors) has no affiliation with IEEE and isn’t even changing the testing between the “draft 2.0” and the final “standard” that the IEEE is ratifying.
What this does accomplish is removing any doubt that “802.11n” will mean anything other than what it does today at any point in the future. The ratification is actually more important to larger enterprises who are putting in Wi-Fi and didn’t want to “gamble” on a draft standard no matter how low the risk. Now they can move forward with high-speed wireless LANs in the enterprise.
For consumers, the products running 802.11n won’t change very much (there may be speed increases as chipsets with 3 and 4 streams become available). 802.11n does have the capability to operate in the 5Ghz frequency spectrum which (as of today but maybe not for long as dual-band product roll out) is much less “noisy” public spectrum. That combined with the improved antenna technology makes connections better. Granted, the broadband connection is limited to 1 to 10 Mbps anyway but vendors will be able to move videos from box to box quickly (TiVO et al), music and data without interruption. Multi-media stuff, i.e. fun stuff