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August 31, 2005

Major Chip Makers Secretly Create 802.11n Proposal

By Glenn Fleishman

In what sounds like a terrible, terrible idea, Intel, Atheros, Broadcom, and Marvell are putting together another Task Group N proposal: While the IEEE standards process was working to align the interests of disparate industries interesting in the next-generation wireless data networking specification that will supercede (and include) 802.11g, four chipmakers may derail the process.

EE Times reports that Intel, Atheros, Broadcom, and Marvell, which have been in two competing camps (Broadcom in one; the other three in the other) for months have met outside the standards group. The two remaining 802.11n proposals in play—TGn Sync and WWiSE—are in the process of merging for a single proposal that would take the day.

This effort by the four chipmakers may arouse anti-trust issues since it was outside a public standards process. Other members of both 802.11n proposal groups are apparently peeved, too, because they didn’t know this was going on.

It could throw Task Group N entirely off its stride as the politics and legalities burble through. Only one of the four chipmakers would comment in the article, and their response isn’t placating at all. The reason for standards processes is to create a playing field that benefits consumers and manufacturers alike by allowing technology to interoperate on a fundamental level. This group bodes ill for a nearer-term ratification of 802.11n. We may now be looking at mid-2007 instead of late 2006.

Posted by Glennf at August 31, 2005 1:36 PM

Categories: Task Group N

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