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

So, here's a question. Did you realize that the 802.11n WLAN router you purchased three years ago, your shiny new 802.11n-equipped notebook and your 802.11n dongle you bought for your grandmother wasn't actually certified? It's true! 802.11n--which is widely known as the quickest of the Wi-Fi transmission protocols available today (trumping 802.11a/b/g)--has been mulling around in one "Draft" status or another for years now. Seven whole years, in fact.

Over the weekend, however, the IEEE working group responsible for making sure 802.11n was rock solid from top to bottom decided that everything 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)." Over one million 802.11n units already ship per day worldwide, but now you can 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, and users shouldn't really have to worry over their current products not working right. The goal here was to make sure Draft-N items didn't get put out of work when the final specification was published, so the average consumer shouldn't even notice a difference. Still, it's nice to see all the i's dotted and t's crossed so we can get to work on the next fastest thing.