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The struggle for 802.11n continues

A new alliance in the struggle for the IEEE 802.11n standard called the EWC has emerged hoping to accelerate the ratification of the new high-speed wireless standard.
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Written by George Ou on

A new alliance in the struggle for the IEEE 802.11n standard called the EWC has emerged hoping to accelerate the ratification of the new high-speed wireless standard.  Over the last year, it had been a seesaw battle between two opposing alliances called the WWiSE and the TGnSync.  For any new IEEE draft standard to be adopted, it requires a super majority vote of 75% among the members of the standards committee.  Earlier in the year, it was looking certain that TGnSync would win the proposal because they were very close to the 75% requirement but support plummeted to around 50% and we were back to a stalemate.  EWC takes prominent members of both WWiSE and TGnSync and forms a new coalition, but it is questionable if this will break the deadlock or prolong it.

It could take another year or two before the final standard is ratified, but companies are not sitting idle with their "pre-N" product lines.  Although the pre-N name implies compatibility 802.11n, compatibility really isn't possible since no one really knows what the standard will ultimately be.  There is no guarantee that any pre-N product will be upgradeable to the 802.11n standard but that may not ultimately matter as much as market share.  The reality is that companies won't wait years for a standard to ratify while their competitors eat up the market and become the de facto standard.  The unfortunate byproduct of this is market fragmentation which means that a product from company A is not compatible with a product from company B.  As the debate in the standards war continues, the real fight for market share rages on.

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