D-Link Joins the 802.11n Crowd

Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
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D-Link Joins the 802.11n Crowd

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) hasn’t yet formally ratified its 802.11n wireless standard, but manufacturers already are planning or releasing products based on the draft specification. The latest to do so is D-Link, which today announced three new wireless devices based on draft 802.11n technology.

D-Link’s new products are the Link Xtreme N Gigabit Router, and two accompanying desktop and notebook adapters—DWA-552 and DWA-652. All three products, the company said in its press release, “are designed for consumers, small businesses and gamers who demand the highest performance possible from their wireless networks.”

One of the key selling points of the new products is their potential, according to D-Link, to deliver wireless speeds up to 14 times faster than 802.11g.

A PC Pro report yesterday noted that speed and reliability are key reasons why many manufacturers—including Belkin, Linsys, and US Robotics—now are offering products using the draft 802.11n specification, ahead of its official ratification.

“Offering broader bandwidths and engineered for quality of service, 802.11n promises the ability to stream video and audio wirelessly around the home in a more robust and reliable manner,” reporter Matt Whipp wrote in the PC Pro report.

Wikipedia’s entry for 802.11 notes that the new 802.11n specification “builds upon previous 802.11 standards by adding MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output). MIMO uses multiple transmitter and receiver antennas to allow for increased data throughput…”

According to Wikipedia, 802.11n is projected for official ratification in 2007, and promises to deliver a maximum data rate of 540 Mbps and a range of about 160 feet. The standard is being developed by IEEE’s task group for wireless local-area networks (WLANs), which was formed in January of 2004.

This past May, Wikipedia notes, IEEE’s 802.11 Working Group voted on Draft 1.0 of the proposed 802.11n standard, and the new specification fell short of majority, receiving approving votes of only 46.6 percent.

“To proceed to the next step in the IEEE process, a majority vote of 75 percent is required,” Wikipedia says. “According to the IEEE 802.11 Working Group Project Timelines,[2] the 802.11n standard is not due for final approval until July 2007.”

Wikipedia further notes that 802.11n draft technology can interfere with 802.11b and 802.11g networks. Despite this potential glitch, it appears manufacturers aren’t willing to wait for the kinks to be worked out—they’re moving ahead with the new technology, wrinkles and all.