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Comms chips

802.11n Slapfest Ahead

It's on!

One of the major vendor bodies that wants to lay down the law on the high-speed technology that will become 802.11n broke cover late this week (see 802.11n WWiSE Alliance Forms).

The worldwide spectrum efficiency (WWiSE) is backed by Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN) among others, and is going up against an opposing proposal from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) called TGn Synch [ed note: nothing to do with the boy band, apparently] in a battle royal some are calling a rumble on the motherboard. [Ed note: No? Just us, then].

The aim of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE)'s 802.11n Task Group is to develop a wireless LAN standard that will deliver 108 Mbit/s -- or more -- wireless throughput (see IEEE Plots Speedier WLAN).

There's more information on the differences and commonalities between the 802.11n factions in the latest Unstrung Insider and these articles: Don't Go to War Over .11n and 802.11n Set to Reign.

You might want to grab a long, cool drink and some popcorn, settle back, and watch the fireworks, because this vendor slapfest could take a while.

In fact, Greg Raleigh, CEO of wireless LAN chip startup told us recently that he thought it would be "at least two years" before truly legit 802.11n products hit the market. This is why AirGo, which is a leading member of the WWiSE group, is betting on a vibrant market for pre-802.11n products (see Airgo Goes Faster With Belkin).

And although the WWiSE/nSynch dustup will likely be the main focus for the standard as specification work progresses, Raleigh says there are currently around 62 different proposals -- many from the academic world -- for 802.11n that IEEE members will chew over. "Some really wild stuff," Raleigh notes [ed note: whew, those crazy multiple antennas, man. They'll mess you up every time].

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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