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Finally! IEEE Ratifies 802.11n Super Wi-Fi

The IEEE said late Friday that its standards board has ratified the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard, which offers throughput speeds of 50mbps.

The final spec is interoperable with draft certification versions of the standard, which is critical for vendors. The 802.11n standard has been around for a while – years, really – without being ratified by the IEEE. Faster, MIMO-equipped and generally a better mousetrap than earlier Wi-Fi efforts, 802.11 was compelling enough that several vendors chose not to wait for the final ratification and issued “draft-n” Wi-Fi products in the meantime.

The final has the 802.11n-2009 amendment, defining mechanisms that provide significantly improved data rates and ranges for wireless local area networks (WLANs) to accommodate the rise of higher-bandwidth file transfers and next-generation multimedia applications. But it’s still interoperable with the draft-certified equipment.

And why did ratification take so long?

“This was an extraordinarily wide-ranging technical challenge that required the sustained effort and concentration of a terrific variety of participants. When we started in 2002, many of the technologies addressed in 802.11n were university research topics and had not been implemented,” said Bruce Kraemer, Chair of the IEEE Wireless LAN Working Group. “The performance improvements achieved via IEEE 802.11n stand to transform the WLAN user experience, and ratification of the amendment sets the stage for a new wave of application innovation and creation of new market opportunities.”


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