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Over at Wi-Fi Networking News, I’ve posted a long look at what we know about Draft N: In particular, I detail how the avoidance mechanisms in the current draft will allow better co-existence between 802.11b/g networks and new 802.11n networks in the 2.4 GHz band.
PC World covers where 802.11n stands: In particular, there’s a fair amount of discussion about specific features that Draft N will employ to prevent overwhelming older a/b/g networks.
Tim Higgins answers the latest burning Draft N question: When will vendors ship firmware upgrades for their shipping gear? He asks Belkin, Buffalo, D-Link, Linksys, and NetGear, and received a lot of equivocal answers. Belkin and D-Link said all current products are upgradable; Linksys and NetGear cagey; Buffalo didn’t answer. Likewise, when will firmware upgrades be available? No clear answer as to when.
I spoke to executives at Atheros and Broadcom recently for an article I’ll have up in the next few days answering more questions about Draft N and 5 GHz, and they both were direct in their response about whether their silicon could be upgraded to Draft 1.10 (the current working draft) and 2.0 (what will be shortly sent out for voting, but will be very very similar to the approved 1.10 version):
Bill Bunch, director of product management for wireless LAN at Broadcom: “All of our products that we’ve ever shipped since Day One will be upgradable to the final draft 2.0. Nothing has changed in our strategy of having a programmable solution.”
Bill McFarland, Atheros’s chief technology officer: “The changes that were made are all changes that can be accommodated with software driver changes.” He added, “I see no reason why, at least physically speaking, it couldn’t be done within two months,” referring to firmware upgrades being available. But, he noted, his customers—the hardware vendors—would decide when and how to distribute firmware upgrades.