New Wi-Fi Technology Racing Past Standards Process
While the IEEE Task Group for the 802.11n network standard stalls on ratification, successful network deployments proceed apace, especially in universities.
The IEEE 802.11n Task Group keeps pushing back the date for full ratification of the latest edition of the popular wireless network standard. The market, however, isn’t waiting. Spearheaded by universities, the 802.11n technology has recently entered “enterprise” architectures with a flourish. In fact, a recent survey conducted by BT Professional Services (www.ins.com/WorkArea/showcontent.aspx?id=2772) indicates that the prestandard 802.11n technology might be nearly ubiquitous by the time the Task Group gets around to finishing the standard, now slated for November 2009 (www.ieee802.org/11/Reports/tgn_update.htm). According to the BT survey,
While many new technologies take years to be adopted, 802.11n appears to be exceeding the typical adoption curve. In fact, nearly one-third (31 percent) of respondents plan to migrate to 802.11n within the next 12 months, and another 20 percent plan to do so sometime beyond this timeframe. For an unproven and not-yet-standardized technology, these plans signal that 802.11n’s benefits are urgently needed, enough for a large number of IT organizations to take a leap of faith in adopting it. Although the IEEE might not be ready to ratify its standard, the Wi-Fi Alliance—an umbrella group of 802.11 technology vendors—has been certifying the interoperability of the new gear’s Draft 2.0 version since June 2007. Alliance executive director Edgar Figueroa says the 11n technology is booming in the marketplace.
“802.11n Draft 2.0, which is our certification program, has exceeded anything we can benchmark against it,” Figueroa says. “I think we were tracking the first six to nine months of the program and we were seeing double the rates of products certified through our program that we saw with 802.11g.”
The Alliance’s certification program for the earlier 11g standard had been very successful—“a high water mark,” Figueroa said. “And n just shattered that.”
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