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Newest Iteration Of Wi-Fi One Step Closer To Certification

According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, we can expect 802.11n products at our local electronics retailer in the near future as its certification program creeps towards a launch set for late June. The WFA also says products th
According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, we can expect 802.11n products at our local electronics retailer in the near future as its certification program creeps towards a launch set for late June. The WFA also says products that are certified under the 802.11n draft 2.0 will get a fancy new logo. Sounds exciting. Will reality live up to the hype?The promises of 802.11n have been a long time coming. More throughput? Check. Improved range? Yup. Better support for streaming? You got it. Increased capacity and enhanced robustness for enterprise users? Correct-o-mundo.

Until now, no 802.11n products on the street have been certified by the WFA. Pre-draft products fmor the industries biggest corporations have already hit store shelves, even though the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and WFA have frowned on these pre-draft products. The certification program will protect people who purchase 802.11n products and ensure their compatibility and industry-wide interoperability.

"With the arrival of Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n draft 2.0 products, we end the practice of uncertain claims of Wi-Fi draft compliance by independent vendors," said Ken Dulaney, vice president and Gartner Research analyst in a prepared statement. "Consumers can now purchase products with improved performance and be assured of interoperability. Prospective buyers should understand that the Wi-Fi Alliance will provide future certification for the eventual 802.11n final specification and assess their own time frame for a movement to 802.11n."

In the press release put out by the WFA, it cites some research that says 78% of U.S. Wi-Fi users are interested in upgrading their Wi-Fi systems in order to gain improved range and/or throughput. Really? Not according to this article, which says, "It will take two or three years for the [home network] scenario to take off for .11n." I have an ordinary 802.11g router and g-enabled laptop. I have great Wi-Fi penetration in my home, and have no problem streaming YouTube or other videos anywhere inside. I can still stream video out in my backyard, and my house is made of brick. Is my case atypical? I can't believe that.

If that 78% figure represents enterprise Wi-Fi network users, it would make a lot more sense to me. Enterprise wireless systems can always use more bandwidth and improved range. Of course, improving the capability of your wireless router is one thing. But if the back-end systems aren't configured to provide the throughput to begin with, is there any real improvement in performance?