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News.com reports that the final ratified version of 802.11n probably will hit in 2008: The ratification means that the full IEEE has accepted a final version of the standard, and will publish it in that form. The work is typically done as long as six months or longer before ratification, so this doesn’t mean that a “final” version will take until 2008, but rather that the absolute final version will take that long.
With a new draft now slated for January 2007 incorporating or responding to the thousands of technical changes noted for Draft 1.0, News.com reports that it’s extremely likely that the next draft will not allow a firmware upgrade for Draft N devices currently on the market. (Also, what’s the generation numbering here? If you ship Draft N in May 2006, and it’s incompatible with Draft N in January 2007, as it may be, do you call this Draft N2? Drafter N?)
I should reiterate that there’s nothing certain in life, and it’s possible that chipmakers have been exceptionally clever and flexible, and will be able to produce better and better 802.11n equipment while still enabling firmware or other backwards compatible with their earliest-shipped chips.
At this point, we’ll have to wait about six months to find out.
Posted by Glennf at August 15, 2006 2:06 PM