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Advanced WiFi in Test Mode

VeriWave, vendors foresee rapid development of MIMO-based wireless LAN equipment

January 17, 2007

2 Min Read
Advanced WiFi in Test Mode

Betting on the rapid development of new WiFi networking equipment based on the emerging 802.11n standard, VeriWave Inc. will announce today a new line of testing equipment for .11n gear.

Specifically, the Portland-based company is launching a new card for its WaveTest 90 testing suite, which measures traffic over wireless LANs. WaveTest can now generate and analyze traffic for .11n devices, including access points, switches and controllers.

A new standard for WiFi networks, 802.11n can increase throughput 10 times over previous 802.11 standards by incorporating MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) technology and more sophisticated coding. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) task group for .11n is expected as early as this week to approve a draft that could eventually become the final 802.11n standard. Final approval could still be a year away.

"Almost every one of our existing customers is developing a variety of .11n equipment," says VeriWave vice-president of marketing Eran Karoly. "They see it as a means to higher quality and speeds for 802.11, and an important driver to the adoption of wireless LANs for mission-critical applications for enterprises."

While some "pre-.11n" equipment was on display at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Karoly notes that enterprises are generally reluctant to invest in new networking equipment before a standard is approved. He says VeriWave customers expect to roll out "enterprise-class" access points, switches, and controllers for 802.11n networks in the second half of 2007.

VeriWave's largest customer is Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which controls around 70 percent of the wireless LAN market.

The debut of 802.11n will mark a significant milestone for the wireless LAN/WiFi market, which has seen a great deal of buzz in the last year focused on citywide municipal networks. According to the Quarterly Wireless LAN report from the Dell'Oro Group , released in November, revenues from wireless mesh nodes reached more than $90 million in 2006, growing from virtually zero three years ago. That figure, however, is dwarfed by the sales of wireless LAN gear to small businesses, which reached $500 million in the fourth quarter alone.

While VeriWave is clearly expecting a relatively smooth approval process for the 802.11n standard, Karoly says that "every prediction we've made on .11n has been wrong." He gives the forthcoming draft a "50-50 chance of actually getting approved."

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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