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By Jennifer LeClaire
TechNewsWorld

01/20/06 9:07 AM PT

http://www.technewsworld.com/story/6cMnWs9stgv0Hw/80211n-Ratified-as-Draft-S
pec-for-Next-Gen-WiFi.xhtml

The proposed IEEE 802.11n WiFi standard will enable high-performance,
next-generation wireless local area networking (WLAN) products. The
draft
supports speeds of up to 600 Mbps — a significant leap over today’s
WiFi
networks — and will enable wireless systems to deliver greater range
and
the ability to support advanced multimedia applications.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers on Thursday
confirmed
the draft specification for the next-generation 802.11n WiFi standard.
The
decision could help push 600-Mbps products into the home as early as
the
first quarter of this year.

The confirmation ends months of debate over the standard as 40 of the
42
voting companies (with two abstentions) agreed unanimously to accept
the
Enhanced Wireless Consortium (EWC) specification.

“We enthusiastically support [the] approval of the 802.11n draft,”
said
Craig Barratt, president and chief executive officer of Atheros
Communications.

Barratt said Atheros set out with the EWC last October to break the
802.11n
stalemate and accelerate a draft that defines significantly higher
wireless
LAN performance.
Tapping Into Home Networking

The proposed IEEE 802.11n WiFi standard will enable high-performance,
next-generation wireless local area networking (WLAN) products. The
draft
supports speeds of up to 600 Mbps — a significant leap over today’s
WiFi
networks — and will enable wireless systems to deliver greater range
and
the ability to support advanced multimedia applications.

“This is significant because people have been waiting for 802.11n for
quite
some time,” Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg told
TechNewsWorld.
“There are limitations in the existing standard that create problems
for
vendors who are trying to build network solutions in the home to
handle
things like video or music.”
Rushing to Market

Chipmakers are already announcing products. Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM)
Latest
News about Broadcom on Thursday announced the availability of its new
Intensi-fi family of wireless LAN chipsets in compliance with the
802.11
draft specification. Marvell announced its own chipset would be
available
during the first quarter of 2006.

Barratt said he is confident that Atheros customers can manufacture
products with “unprecedented performance” based on its technologies
that
conform to this new draft.

“Now that we have the technical foundation for the 802.11n standard,
the
WiFi market will begin to experience renewed growth as vendors deliver
next- generation wireless devices,” said Philip Solis, Senior Analyst
at
ABI Research Latest News about ABI Research.

Solis expects suppliers like Broadcom to capitalize on this
opportunity by
introducing advanced solutions that promise interoperability and
upgradability when the standard is completed, just as it did with its
draft
802.11g solutions.
A Few More Hurdles

Atheros, Broadcom and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) Latest News about Intel led
support for the new standard. The draft will now proceed through the
IEEE
ratification process, which includes letter balloting, comment
resolution,
sponsor balloting and final ratification.

In the past, full approval of similar specifications have typically
taken
about a year, but the progress is unique to each standard and its
associated participants.

Like anything else, Gartenberg said there is always a chance the
802.11n
draft would not be ratified. However, he added, there are companies
who are
really determined to get these products to market and others that are
interested in building solutions on top of these products.

“We are seeing a lot of effort going forward to drive consumer usage
of
network technologies beyond utilitarian functions like sharing
Internet Get
Linux or Windows Managed Hosting Services with Industry Leading
Fanatical
Support. connections to entertainment functions,” Gartenberg said.
“They
are trying to get them to move content around the home in different
ways.
This confirmation is very good news for the industry. Now we will have
to
wait and see what the next steps are.”


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