The IEEE's quest for a faster, MIMO-based Wi-Fi standard will continue - with the rival groups poised for merger after a vote failed to provide an outright winner. The Intel-backed TGn Sync group got more votes than the WWISE group at an IEEE plenary meeting in Atlanta, but not the 75 percent required to clinch the deal.

802.11n promises to use MIMO technology to create wireless LANs that go faster than 100 Mbit/s. The proposals have coalesced into two, of which TGn Sync, supported by Intel, Atheros and Sony, got 56 percent of the votes, and WWISE, supported by the leading MIMO chip vendor, Airgo, as well as Motorola and Nokia, got 44 percent.

"Compromise and merger is now necessary to meet the confirmation requirement, given that there is insufficient support for TGn Sync as presently described," said an Airgo PR statement. "TGn Sync and WWiSE will hold discussions to determine how the proposals may be merged."

If the groups merge, then the next meeting in May could result in a draft standard by the following meeting in July, according to Wi-Fi Planet. Otherwise, the two have to slug it out till one gets 75 percent, a process that is currently blocking the ultrawideband (UWB) standard.

In recent weeks, Motorola merged its proposal with WWISE, and Nokia also got on board, but this heavyweight support doesn't seem to have given WWISE enough clout to beat TGn Sync.