With 802.11g products still fresh in the market, the vendors seem to be gearing up for a dispute about how to make them go faster. Following Netgear’s launch of a Super-G product with a quoted speed of 108Mbit/s, D-Link is bringing out a product, based on a rival standard, which it claims is equally fast.
However, D-Link is keen to bring the discussion down to earth a bit and avoid discussion of 108Mbit/s speeds. “Our DWL2000AP+ gives a practical throughput of around 34Mbit/s,” said Nick Bharadia, a pre-sales engineer at D-Link. “And that is the same as you will get from Super-G.”
Why the reduction, when the spec for plain 802.11g (“traditional” 803.11g as Bharadia put it) is based on a blistering 54Mbit/s? Well, actual achievable Wi-Fi speeds have always been slower than the theoretical speeds mentioned in the standards: 802.11g’s throughput is about 28Mbit/s according to Bharadia.
Neither specification is an actual standard yet and the technologies are different. Netgear is using the Atheros chipset and it appears to use channel bonding, using multiple radio slots for transmission. D-Link on the other hand uses the TI chipset, which includes the PBCC modulation technology. Both standards only give the speed boost when the access point and Wi-Fi card come from the same vendor.
Bharadia reckons the TI scheme is better because it is more about compression of the data before it hits the airwaves and does not preclude transmission of normal 802.11b data at the same time as g+. It also has a heritage, as TI offered a similar speed boost to 802.11b, called b+.
The IEEE’s 802.11 standards site does not make any obvious reference to either method, so it looks like it is down to market acceptance to decide which is best.
Prices are not yet announced, but g+ should only add around £15 premium to the price of an 802.11g base station, according to Bharadia.
D-Link has lined up at least one analyst to its cause: "D-Link and TI have a history of fuelling the 802.11b market with the success they achieved with D-Link's 802.11b+ line last year, said Allen Nogee, principal analyst from In-Stat/MDR, in a statement quoted in D-Link’s release. “The new D-Link 802.11g+ product line will continue that trend by carrying 802.11g to the next level."