Last Post: February 23, 2007:
By Glenn Fleishman
Special to Wi-Fi Networking News
Permanently archived item http://wifinetnews.com/archives/007328.html
Big news from the IEEE: Draft 2.0 of 802.11n moves forward: The vote was 100-0 with 5 abstentions, Matthew Gast notes from the London meeting. This is a significant milestone from a lot of different directions. It's one thing to achieve a 75-percent supermajority necessary to advance a draft into its final stages, which is just the tweaking and fixing that brings it to ratification with no significant alterations. It's another to get the bag of cats that are the stakeholders in the task group to vote unanimously.
Draft 2.0 now goes out for letter ballot, where IEEE members choose to move the process along further, but the vote to take the draft into that status indicates there should be little problem with the formal adoption as the final basis of 802.11n. (Technically, Draft 1.10 was approved, and if the letter ballot succeeds, the new draft will numbered 2.0.)
This also means that it's extremely likely that my concern over the last nine months about early Draft N equipment not all being upgradable through firmware to a Draft 2.0 and final release standard will prove misplaced. With the industry providing no hardware upgrade guarantees--like, "We'll swap your gateway if we can't make it as fast as the standard says and fully interoperable"--I've been dubious about early adoption of Draft N, especially that equipment based on Draft 1.0. Further, most early gear has revealed remarkable inconsistency in performance and interoperability with even like devices in testing by magazines and online publications.
The vote today indicates that there's a very strong direction for 802.11n, and I expect within a matter of weeks that we'll see waves of firmware upgrades for existing products, real availability of Draft 2.0 chipsets--Airgo wasn't the only one working in anticipation of this accepted draft--and a timetable for the Wi-Fi Alliance to certify Draft 2.0-compliant devices.
After four years, this is a big step forward.
Many thanks for the update Joel!
Indeed, thank you for the update. What's the scoop re: channel widths at least in 2.4 ISM?
Personally speaking, I'm a HUGE hater of 802.11n in the *enterprise*. You home users, go for it. However, in 5 GHz perhaps I'll be more ammenable, but I still think there could be more efficient use of the spectrum with the channel widths we're already using.
Case in point, the cellular industry is using 1.25MHz to deliver 30 simultaneous phone calls within that same channel width. (albeit using CDMA) The frequency usage for data is comparable as well. I expect they are actually well past that now.
Point is that, MY GOSH, 802.11 is such an innefficient protocol. If we're going to innovate, it would seem that we should be doing better with what we have especially with the frequency flexibility we have at 5GHz using at least the same channel widths. For example, can't we do 128 QAM at 5GHz?
I'm looking forward to seeing what they are doing towards these ends. Also, I hope that I get over my "I'm going to quit WiFi" mentality should enterprise vendors start implementing 802.11n at 40MHz channel widths using 2.4GHz.
The 802.11n draft will have to be my next read...
GREAT question. Why can't we do 128 QAM at 5 GHz????? Those guys at the IEEE need to get their **** together.
Have you attended an IEEE 802.11 session? Just curious... if you have, you'd know why it's difficult, if not almost impossible, to get "bleeding edge" technology through the entire standards process, much less the draft stage. I've been to a session and know quite a few people who are voting members. It's not a job I envy.