802.11n – what really happened?

By | March 10, 2006

Last year a group of companies attempted an end run around the IEEE committee developing the next-generation wireless LAN standard, 802.11n. Its goal was to obtain a time-to-market advantage over the one firm that has successfully commercialised the advanced technology central to 802.11n. The industry rebuffed this maneuvre.

A quick review of 802.11n is in order. The 802.11n Task Group was established to identify a WLAN technology capable of delivering throughputs well above 100 Mbit/s for such advanced applications as multimedia networking. Virtually everyone agreed that the best choice was multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), which also delivers significantly greater range and capacity.

Led by chip makers Atheros, Broadcom, Intel and Marvell, the Enhanced Wireless Consortium (EWC) was announced last October and claimed as one of its primary objectives “to accelerate the IEEE 802.11n standard-development process.”

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