Draft 2 of Faster Wi-Fi Spec Approved

Draft 2.0 of the 802.11n spec sailed through the 802.11 Working Group, setting the stage for final approval some time in 2009. The IEEE 802.11 Working Group sent out a copy of Draft 2 two months ago, with a deadline of last Friday for submitting up or down votes. The final vote was 83.4 percent, plenty more than the 75 percent supermajority required for approval.

This was a significant change from just two years ago, when a splinter group formed due to dissatisfaction with the 802.11n progress. To some degree, a fire has been lit under the IEEE because vendors aren’t waiting to ship faster 802.11n Wi-Fi  product.

802.11n  is the next-generation in wireless networking, offering higher speed and greater range. It was originally designed to offer 100Mbps throughput, but that was felt to be too slow, so the speed was upped to 200Mbps. Thanks to its Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) technology, 802.11n can hit speeds of up to 600Mbps.

During the voting, Draft 2.0 received 3,163 comments, according to blogger Matthew Gast, who is involved in the development process and wrote about it in his blog. Many were duplicates and there’s still a Draft 3.0 and final approval to go.

“The next stage will consist of minor tweaks to the text of the draft to address some of the comments before it is officially approved. The core technology, however, is all but set at this point in time,” Gast wrote.

After some revisions are made to Draft 2.0, there will be another round of balloting, with Draft 3.0 expected by the end of this year, and if all goes well, approval in early 2008. Draft 3.0 will be the final version of 802.11n in all but name, which is a good thing as the retail channel is full of 802.11n product now.

The publication of the final 802.11n spec is now expected in April 2009.

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