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1/19/2006
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Faster Wi-Fi Standard Back On Track

The proposed standard, 802.11n, provides a huge speed boost for wireless networks, with actual throughput speeds of 100 megabits per second.

The logjam over 802.11n ended Thursday when an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) task group agreed on a proposal for the next high speed Wi-Fi standard during its meeting in Hawaii.

The proposed standard, 802.11n, provides a huge speed boost for wireless networks, with actual throughput speeds of 100 megabits per second, or roughly four times as fast as current wireless networks. It also opens the door for bandwidth intensive services such as voice over IP and streaming video.

The IEEE unanimously voted in favor of the proposal from the Enhanced Wireless Consortium (EWC), a group led by chipmakers Intel, Marvell, Atheros and Broadcom. The EWC formed in October to accelerate adoption of an 802.11n standard after months of haggling between TGn Sync and WwiSE, the two industry groups that had been working -- unsuccessfully -- to settle on a standard.

IEEE's decision means that ratification of an 802.11n standard can finally move forward, a process that industry analysts and 11n task group members say will take about a year, with the first products hitting the market shortly thereafter.

Airgo, the first company to make wireless chipsets using MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) technology, which boosts the speed and range of wireless networks while minimizing latency, stands to benefit. Ironically, Airgo, which has been making MIMO chipsets for the past two years, was vehemently opposed to the EWC when it was formed, but now appears satisfied that progress is finally taking place.

"Airgo believes today's vote represents the best interests of both consumers and the industry since the proposal can now be evaluated and amended by all parties in an open from," the company said in a statement.

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