The group -- as you’ll no doubt remember -- is working on speeding up the data signal transfer speed, a.k.a. handoff, between wireless access points (APs) (see SpectraLink Seeks New Standard and Cisco's Home-Grown Roam).
This is important for VOWLAN (voice-over-wireless LAN) and other applications like wireless video, because the current handoff times between traditional, standalone APs mean that a person using a WiFi phone could drop the call when moving around the office. And the problem just gets worse when new security features like wireless protected access (WPA) get added to the mix and the onboard processor has to handle more number crunching than it is used to
The task group was approved by the IEEE executive committee in March, a source familiar with these matters tells Unstrung. The group name still awaits final approval from the higher levels but should happen in time for the May meeting of the IEEE.
But wait, there’s more: If the work is eventually ratified, the standard apparently won’t be called 802.11r -- that would be far too simple. Instead, it will be known by the catchier moniker of Fast Basic Service Set (BSS) Transition. [Ed. note: We do hope you’re concentrating there at the back; there will be test on this at the end of class.]
Confused yet? Not to worry: This is an ideal opportunity for us to update our handy chart to help you navigate the alphabet soup of the 802.11 world...
Table 1: IEEE work in progress on the 802.11 standard
|802.11 Specification letter suffix||What it does|
|e||Adds quality-of-service features, multimedia support|
|f||Defining how access points interact|
|g||Ups data transfer rates on 2.4GHz band to 54 Mbit/s|
|h||Adding dynamic frequency selection to 802.11a to comply with European regulations|
|j||A version of 802.11a for Japan that will run on the authorized 4.9GHz-5GHz frequencies|
|k||Defines radio and network information to allow the better management of wireless LANs, will also enable new applications like location-based services|
|l||Not being used, because it looks confusing|
|m||Maintenance, this working group will go back and correct any errors in previous amendents to the specification|
|n||Not official yet but likely to be the designation of a high-throughput variant of the standard.|
|o||Not being used, because it looks confusing|
|r||Improving handoff times, will be called Fast BSS-Transition if ratified|
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung