Netgear has promised to launch wireless products that comply with the IEEE 802.11n draft specification for fast wireless networking before the end of June.
The announcement came only two months after the IEEE's 802.11n committee agreed on a compromise proposal for a new generation of Wi-Fi that could reach speeds of 300 Mbit/s.
However, according to IEEE pages, the specification will not officially even reach the status of draft standard until a meeting in March, and is unlikely to be fully ratified till next year.
Netgear has promised to make sure its products will work with those from other vendors, who are expected to come out with their own implementations of the developing standard, which will offer greater range speed and security than existing 802.11a/b/g wireless products.
Netgear predicts its products will support "data rates up to 600 Mbit/s" - though it is not clear whether this is the data throughput, or the "symbol rate", in which case network overheads could reduce that significantly, as with previous Wi-Fi standards.
"Netgear commends the progress of the IEEE Task Group in drafting the 802.11n specifications and in accelerating the ratification of the standardised 802.11n specification for sometime in 2007," said Vivek Pathela, senior director of consumer product marketing at Netgear. "NETGEAR's technology suppliers assure [us] that we will have ample supply of chipsets based on a draft 802.11n specification, and we are confident of our ability to commit quantities of products to our channel partners worldwide to meet customer demands."
The 802.11n task group voted unanimously to adopt a joint proposal, based on ideas from the EWC consortium, which uses spatial multiplexing MIMO, and this is being formatted into an IEEE draft document before going to a vote. The standards process will have to keep compatibility with existing 802.11a/b/g products, and ensure multi-vendor kit will work together.
The Wi-Fi Alliance body, which brands Wi-Fi kit, is not so optimistic as Netgear on its public site: "There will not be any IEEE 802.11n products available until after the standard is finalised," says a FAQ there. "In addition, any claims of compliance to the IEEE 802.11n standard would not be accurate." The Alliance is planning to certify 802.11n products - but not till after the standard is ratified in "the first half of 2007".
Netgear isn't going to let that stop it, and is promising multi-vendor action to make sure products work together.
"As a member of the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA), Netgear supports the WFA initiative to certify products for 802.11n compliance aligned with the ratification of the standard in 2007. In the meantime, NETGEAR is actively working with technology chipset suppliers to ensure the incorporation of those features in the specification that promise reliable backwards-compatibility and channel-friendly behavior with existing wireless networks."