Wi-Fi Goes Nitro with 802.11n


The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. standards body may have just added some nitro to Wi-Fi development, approving a draft proposal Thursday for the new 802.11n specification.

The IEEE Task Group N voted to confirm the 802.11n proposal it has been developing for more than one year.

The 802.11n standard is the latest in the family of Wi-Fi standards, theoretically offering downstream throughputs as high as 600 megabits per second. By comparison, the 802.11g standard many Wi-Fi products are based on now offers a maximum throughput of 54 mbps.

With the task group’s stamp of approval, the 802.11n standard will make its way through the IEEE’s complex ratification process, which typically takes about one year.

In related news, Broadcom Corp. Thursday announced the availability of a new line of wireless-local-area-network chip sets based on the draft 802.11n standard. The “Intensi-fi” chip scheme incorporates all of the elements of the draft 802.11n standard, and it can be modified by software upgrades if the standard is altered before it is ratified.

"Now that we have the technical foundation for the 802.11n standard, the Wi-Fi market will begin to experience renewed growth as vendors deliver next- generation wireless devices," said Philip Solis, senior analyst at ABI Research. "We expect suppliers like Broadcom to capitalize on this opportunity by introducing advanced solutions that promise interoperability and upgradeability when the standard is completed, just as it did with its draft 802.11g solutions."

While the draft specification allows for bit rates as high as 600 mbps, Broadcom’s Intensi-fi chips are targeting data rates just north of 300 mbps. The chips also offer multiple transmit and receiving antennas built onto them to boost radio coverage.

Broadcom is targeting home and office applications for the chip set, including delivery of HDTV files and other multimedia across a wireless link in a home network.