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« Acer Joins Draft N Devolution | Main | 802.11n's Next Draft Vote in January »

August 10, 2006

Mossberg Sees No Reason to Switch to Draft N

By Glenn Fleishman

It’s the big time as Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal says, “eh,” to Draft N: Mossberg has long favored the Belkin Pre-N router—which I quite liked until mine died—for having excellent coverage compared to plain 802.11g devices. But in his testing of a new Belkin and Linksys using Draft N chips, he found that he “can’t recommend the draft-N equipment over the previous round of MIMO-equipped routers.” He also notes the message I’ve been trying to spread: “manufacturers aren’t promising to upgrade [the routers] to the final N standard when it emerges.” But Mossberg also makes the same proviso that I do: There’s no guarantee that these devices aren’t upgradable to the final standard. There’s just no promise to swap hardware if that’s the only solution.

It seems exceedingly fair of Mossberg to credit slowness in his testing of a Linksys WRT300N to the fiber-optic hookup from Verizon (their FIOS system). Because his Internet feed is unusual, he doesn’t express total confidence that the settings he was required to use to bridge the router to his network were ideal.

Mossberg criticizes the IEEE for delaying the 802.11n standard for so long that the marketplace has released products that are ahead of the process. He blames factionalism in the IEEE for delay, but I would suggest that because the IEEE is composed of firms representing different interests (which he also notes) that it’s more about voting procedures being a problem in the IEEE.

The IEEE counts one person per vote. More well-funded companies can send their employees to the bimonthly meetings that happen around the world (Singapore, Australia, US, Europe, etc.) to retain their voting rights. You have to attend multiple meetings to obtain voting rights and consistently attend thereafter to retain them.

The procedures ensure that companies with more money to spend on voters or that are willing to blow money to skew the process (Freescale) will have disproportionate control or ability to disrupt the process. Freescale ensured that the UWB personal area networking group (802.15.3a) fell apart despite almost total unified opposition from the rest of the industry. In fact, articles suggest now that Freescale UWB’s is delayed until next year and may never ship. So that’s the wages of playing the voting game.

Posted by Glennf at August 10, 2006 10:08 AM

Categories: Draft N


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