IEEE Ratifies Final 802.11n Certification...Seven Years Later

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News Posted: Sun, Sep 13 2009 1:12 PM
So, here's a question. Did you realize that the 802.11n WLAN router youpurchased three years ago, your shiny new 802.11n-equipped notebook andyour 802.11n dongle you bought for your grandmother wasn't actuallycertified? It's true! 802.11n--which is widely known as the quickest ofthe Wi-Fi transmission protocols available today (trumping802.11a/b/g)--has been mulling around in one "Draft" status or anotherfor years now. Seven whole years, in fact.

Over the weekend, however, the IEEE working group responsible formaking sure 802.11n was rock solid from top to bottom decided thateverything was finally just right.The Standards Board finally ratified the 802.11n-2009 amendment, which defines "mechanisms that provide significantly improved
data rates and ranges for wireless local area networks (WLANs)." Overone million 802.11n units already ship per day worldwide, but now youcan finally rest assured that one product will cooperate with another.Here's a simple overview of what this certification means:

"The IEEE 802.11 standard defines how to design interoperable WLAN equipment that provides a variety of capabilities including a wide range of data rates, quality of service, reliability, range optimization, device link options, network management and security.

The 560-page 802.11n amendment-"…WLAN Enhancements for Higher Throughput"1-will enable rollout of significantly more scalable WLANs that deliver 10-fold-greater data rates than previously defined while ensuring co-existence with legacy systems and security implementations."

Publishing of the actual document is scheduled for next month, andusers shouldn't really have to worry over their current products notworking right. The goal here was to make sure Draft-N items didn't getput out of work when the final specification was published, so theaverage consumer shouldn't even notice a difference. Still, it's niceto see all the i's dotted and t's crossed so we can get to work on thenext fastest thing.
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Jeremy replied on Sun, Sep 13 2009 2:16 PM

If 11n took 7 years, the next protocol should take 10?

Out of pure curiosity, does anyone know what took so long?

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shawn.o replied on Sun, Sep 13 2009 4:14 PM

Who knows! These things tend to take forever, lots of red tape and LOTS of manufacturers to please. Imagine trying to ratify something that literally hundreds of companies use as critical parts to their products.

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rapid1 replied on Sun, Sep 13 2009 5:37 PM

Yes shawn.o that is the whole of it. However; it does seem the IEEE took exceptionally long on this one. Look how long it took for other things they certified. Then compare it Wireless N seems to have taken an extra long journey for certification. That reminds me I will need to check my routers firmware next week.

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3vi1 replied on Sun, Sep 13 2009 7:14 PM

>> Out of pure curiosity, does anyone know what took so long?

277 members on the working team, all trying to pull a RAMBUS and get their intellectual property snuck into the spec.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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It may sound dumb coming from someone typing on a alpha Linux OS, but this is what I have been really waiting for. I know there were some issues with early N routers messing up other routers in the area.

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realneil replied on Mon, Sep 14 2009 10:11 AM

I've had an "N" speed router for years. I jumped as soon as they were available and I haven't looked back. Mine is smooth, butter on hot toast and delivers signal to 4 computers without a hiccup, burp, or fart.

I knew it was only built to a "Draft" standard, but it offered far greater speeds that the "G" I had.

I've been extremely happy with it's performance for all of these years,......ANXIOUSLY awaiting The Standards Board's blessings.

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digitaldd replied on Mon, Sep 14 2009 10:36 AM

I'm going to say they had interference issues with all the original draft-N stuff. I mean the 2.4ghz spectrum is overutilized as it is.

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Thats why you run a dual N band router 2.4ghz and 5.0ghz

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Anyone know what's planned after N spec?

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