A threat to the ratification of a new wireless standard appears to have receded after an Australian research group has responded to a request for information.
There were concerns that 802.11n might have been in jeopardy after the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organisation (CSIRO), had not responded to the IEEE about its intellectual property, although some industry observers believed the threat had been exaggerated.
The IEEE 802 committee, which oversees WLANs, Ethernet and other networking specifications, asked CSIRO earlier this year for a letter concerning how it would deal with technology in 802.11n that it believed it owned, according to the IEEE. It finally got an initial response on 26 September. An earlier response by CSIRO wasn't on the form the IEEE now uses.
The standards body didn't say what CSIRO's response was. The 802.11n Working Group is still working on a draft of the standard for approval by the IEEE's Standards Board, IEEE 802 chairman Paul Nikolich said that he was confident the 802.11n project would be completed.
The IEEE wants to know whether anyone holds patents on technology that may be essential to a standard. Patent holders can charge vendors for licences to technology that's built into a standard, but if they do, the IEEE wants them to make the licenses available to everyone and reasonably priced. Letters of Assurance are forms that let patent holders lay out how they will treat intellectual property that ends up in a standard.
Last year, CSIRO won an injunction against Buffalo Technology for infringement of patents CSIRO said are part of the 802.11a and 802.11g standards. The group also has suits pending against several other WLAN vendors.
The 802.11n standard, which calls for real throughput of more than 100Mbit/s and greater range than current wireless LANs, has been long delayed. To get products out on the market, the Wi-Fi Alliance industry group is already certifying for interoperability products built using Draft 2.0 of the standard.