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Welcome to WNN’s latest blog on the 802.11n wireless specification and MIMO (multiple-in, multiple-out) technology: All makers of Wi-Fi equipment have hit the same wall: even with proprietary extensions and tweaking of the 802.11g standard, it’s almost impossible to push more than 30 to 40 Mbps across a wireless network—while gigabit Ethernet, running as much as 30 times faster, has become cheap and plentiful. Despite gains in antenna technology and design, most homes could use more than one access point to provide full coverage, too.
Enter MIMO, a multiple antenna technology that can effectively create multiple data streams in the same spectrum that can currently carry just a single stream while better distinguishing signal from noise, wheat from chaff. Early MIMO and similar technology is already in a half-dozen consumer devices to generally positive response to their compatibility with older Wi-Fi equipment, their range, and their throughput.
But interoperability at higher speeds among MIMO devices won’t come until the IEEE, an engineering standards body, finishes its work in Task Group N and produces a ratified protocol that will be known as 802.11n. The final speed for 802.11n could range from 200 Mbps up to 600 Mbps, depending on which parts of the standard are mandatory and optional.
Task Group N won’t be done with its work until late 2006 or even early 2007. But devices may ship as soon as later this year that claim to be forward upgradable to whatever the standard might wind up looking like.
In this blog, we’ll help navigate the new higher-throughput standard space while covering the latest MIMO gear and its implications. We’ll bring you the same kind of industry coverage, product review, and first-hand reporting that we’ve specialized in at Wi-Fi Networking News for the last four years. We welcome your feedback, and sign up to receive news via email at the upper left of any page.