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WiFi's High-Speed Compromise

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
8/29/2006

The Wi-Fi Alliance has stepped in to put its official stamp on the high-speed "pre-n" wireless LAN products now starting to proliferate in the small-office home-office (SOHO) market.

The group now plans a two-stage WiFi certification program for products based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 's multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) specification. The Alliance plans to start certifying products that implement baseline features of the specification in the first half of next year. Phase two will implement the ratified specification, now due around March 2008. The WiFi-ers hope to maintain interoperability between the two phases.

The Wi-Fi Alliance decided to take the somewhat unusual step of commencing interoperability testing before the IEEE has completed the final specification (recently predicted on Unstrung) because analysts predict that there will be millions of "pre-n" products on the market before the standard is finalized. (See Blessing Draft N.)

"I think that's the biggest risk," says Frank Hanzlik, managing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "It would contribute to fragmentation in the market."

Hanzlik says that many Alliance members had spoken out in favor of an interim solution to the 802.11n problem.

"At the end of the day, we're a member-driven organization and a lot of the members were pushing for this," he tells Unstrung.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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