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Should you hold off on 802.11n because of Marvell?

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Marvell's 450Mbit/s chip could speed Wi-Fi - but slow down 802.11n in the enterprise, according to some.

Last week, Marvell announced an 802.11n MIMO chip that can do three spatial streams (that's three simultaneous streams of data between the client and the AP), giving a symbol rate of 450 Mbit/s and therefore a data throughput that might get to around 200 Mbit/s depending on distance.

That sounds like great news for 802.11n products, but Joanie Wexler at Network World thinks it could be another reason for delaying 802.11n deployments. "It looks like Cisco will be using the components, potentially raising the performance stakes for competing business-class WLAN system makers," she says - Marvell says its confident it will keep the Cisco deal, but obviously Cisco isn't saying yet.

Chip vendors are still working out the best number of antennas, and aiming towards a final standard that isn't ratified yet. That seems to her like a good reason to hold off: "Today’s pre-standard products are young and will likely be soon obsoleted by faster products and those that conform to the final 802.11n standard next year," she says.

And - unless you have a pressing reason for doing it now - we'd have to agree.


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