802.11n Wi-Fi Standard Gets IEEE's Green Light

The IEEE has finally approved the 802.11n high-throughput wireless LAN standard.

There’s been no public announcement yet by IEEE. But Bruce Kraemer, the long-time chairman of the 802.11n Task Group (part of the 802.11 Working Group, which oversees the WLAN standards), has sent out a notification to a listserv for task group members, which includes a wide range of Wi-Fi chip makers, software developers, and equipment vendors.

One of them, Meru Networks, posted the message on a blogpost.

802.11n pioneer sets 'wicked fast' expectations for wireless

The brief e-mail was sent just after 11 a.m. EST today. Kraemer announced that the Standards Board had approved both 11n and a companion standard: 11w, for protecting data in 802.11 management frames.

“Although this e-mail vehicle falls far short of expressing the sentiment, thanks to the hundreds of 802.11members that contributed to these efforts, as well as the 802 EC and the IEEE Staff,” Kraemer wrote.

The Task Group was formally launched on Sept. 11, 2003 (see timeline of 802.11n milestones). A “Study Group” had been formed a year earlier, to weigh the feasibility of creating a standard that would be the basis for wireless LANS with a minimum of 100Mbps throughput. Today’s Wi-Fi-certified WLAN products, based on draft 2.0 of the standard, typically deliver from 150Mbps to somewhat over 200Mbs, based on two spatial streams.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has said it will update its Wi-Fi certification program on Sept. 30 to begin testing WLAN products that meet the full standard. Only a few additions have been made to the standard in the past 2 years, and these all involve optional features. According to the Alliance, users can expect future Wi-Fi products to be fully compatible with today’s products.

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