A completed draft of the 802.11n fast Wi-Fi standard could be ready to vote on this week - signalling greater acceptance and a flood of products later this year.
The IEEE fast Wi-Fi standard, which will operate at up to 200 Mbit/s, is expected to take a significant step closer to reality this week, when the Task Group N in the IEEE's 802.11 LAN Working Group completes a draft which can be voted on, according to Glenn Fleishman of Wi-Fi Net News.
"The IEEE is a consensus-driven standards group, so its process grinds slowly," warns Fleishman, and the process of creating a standard faster than the current 802.11g has been slower than usual. Two competing proposals reached stalemate in 2005, but a vendor consortium put together a proposal which became a first draft for the standards group to work on.
"Draft-N" products, based on Draft 1.0 of the specification, were swiftly delivered, but gave disappointing performance (see our reviews of Netgear DG834N, Linksys WRT300N, Belkin N1, D-Link Rangebooster N650 and Buffalo Airstation Nfiniti).
The Working Group could approve draft 2.0 this week, which can then proceed to a letter ballot before the IEEE meeting in March - after which further changes are possible, but the eventual standard would get the IEEE rubber-stamp in 2008.
The Wi-Fi Alliance expects Draft 2.0 to be stable enough for the branding programme it announced last August, and vendors are expected to jump on the bandwagon, with laptop makers adding Draft-N cards, and silicon vendors arguing that Draft 2.0 will make 802.11n acceptable. Business WLAN makers are users are expected to wait till the formal standard in 2008, however.
Find your next job with techworld jobs