Vendors Join Forces to Push Faster Wi-Fi

Twenty-seven leading manufacturers of wireless LAN equipment this week announced an industry coalition to push the acceptance of a new, faster Wi-Fi standard.

The Enhanced Wireless Consortium wants to speed development of an IEEE standard by introducing its own specification with widespread industry support. Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, Intel, Linksys, Toshiba and Gateway are some of the companies participating in the coalition.

EWC says the specification will benefit users by ensuring interoperability across a variety of next-generation WLAN products, such as PCs, handheld devices and networking equipment.

The new wireless standard is expected to support speeds up to 600 Mbps. This will support applications that need high data rates, such as HDTV streams. The proposed standard reduces battery drain by minimizing the time needed to send and receive data streams.

The EWC’s proposal also features spatial multiplexing modes for simultaneous transmission using one to four antennas. The modes increase the range for a wider coverage area. EWC is also considering advanced technologies, including beamforming and space/time block coding.

The specification’s other elements include mixed-mode interoperability with 802.11a, b and g networks. It uses 2.4-GHz and/or 5-GHz unlicensed bands, matching the frequency plan of existing 802.11 devices. The proposal has 20-MHz and/or 40-MHz support.

EWC members will continue to work within the IEEE Task Group N to agree on an 802.11n standard. If the IEEE ratifies the coalition’s proposed standard, its members will make the specification’s intellectual property available to other parties.

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.