High-speed Wi-Fi standard nears ratification

802.11n is finally ready for approval by the IEEE, seven years after work on the standard began and two years after it started to be built into PCs and Wi-Fi equipment

The latest version of the Wi-Fi standard 802.11n is close to final ratification.

802.11n is much faster and of higher bandwidth than its predecessor, 802.11g. Last Friday, the 802.11 working group — a subset of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) — held its final approval vote on the standard, according to Trapeze Networks's Matthew Gast, a member of the working group.

Gast blogged on Monday that the vote was passed overwhelmingly, after which the working group passed the standard on to the "higher layers" of the IEEE 802 wireless standards group for publication. Those higher layers voted unanimously to approve the standard, and 802.11n has now gone to the IEEE Standards Board Review Committee for final approval on 11 September.

"In an interesting twist, 11 September is a date relevant to the history of 802.11n," Gast wrote. "Bruce Kraemer, the long-time chair of Task Group N and the current chair of the 802.11 working group, noted that the first meeting of the 'High Throughput Study Group', the precursor to [Task Group N], was 11 September, 2002. If approved, the 802.11n effort will have taken exactly seven years, at least by one measure."

Delays over the final ratification of 802.11n led many manufacturers of Wi-Fi equipment and PCs to start implementing the specification in 2007, ahead of ratification, under the 'Draft 2.0' moniker. As a result, the high-speed technology is already found in many devices today.

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