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Innovation

802.11n ratified ... finally

After seven years, the IEEE has finally ratified 802.11n WiFi standard.

After seven years, the IEEE  has finally ratified 802.11n WiFi standard.

It's been a long road to ratification, so long in fact that "draft n" WiFi equipment has been on sale for years. In fact, the WiFi Alliance itself had been certifying wireless gear based on the second draft of 802.11n since 2007.

Not only has the path to 802.11n ratification been a long one, it's been a painful one for manufacturers and consumers alike. Manufacturers have had to deal with a messy "draft n" period where they have had to try to offer consumers some guarantees that their equipment will be compatible with the final standard, and home users have either had to stick with 802.11g (which is some areas isn't easy has the air-waves have become pretty congested) or hope that their gear wouldn't be obsolete once the standard was ratified.

It'll be interesting to see how much "draft n" gear can't be updated to the final standard. From what I know, I expect that most will be, although I also suspect that manufacturers will quietly make any early gear that isn't as "end of life" or EOL rather than claim incompatibility.

There's no official announcement from the IEEE yet, but confirmation of ratification has been sent to WiFi chip manufacturers.

So, now that 802.11n has been ratified, not only can we embrace a faster, more robust WiFi, we can look forward to the next standard, although word has it that given how long ratification of the n standard took, the IEEE might be cut out of the loop in future.

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