Home & Office

Motorola waits on 802.11n approval

Company says it won't sell equipment using the next-generation Wi-Fi standard, as Intel and others are, until it's IEEE-certified.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor
A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

Motorola will not produce any next-generation enterprise Wi-Fi equipment until the 802.11n standard is properly ratified, the company said Thursday.

Speaking to ZDNet UK at the Wireless Event in London, the company's senior product marketing manager, Angelo Lamme, said Motorola did not want its customers to buy equipment that could end up incompatible with the final version of the standard, due to be ratified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers as late as 2009.

"We're going to wait until the final standard has been set," said Lamme, who joined Motorola after it acquired mobile data capture specialist Symbol Technologies. "It doesn't make sense to ship yet, as enterprises won't adopt (802.11n) that early, and we don't want our customers to end up with noncompliant, prestandard equipment."

The new generation of Wi-Fi promises improved bandwidth and range, and many vendors, including Intel, have already started shipping products that claim to conform to the 802.11n standard. However, the standard is still in a draft stage that has seen multiple delays due to industry in-fighting, and it could easily change before it is ultimately ratified by the IEEE.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, an industry body, plans to start certifying 802.11n equipment next month, even though it has admitted that there is no guarantee that equipment currently available will be interoperable with the finalized standard.

Lamme suggested that the Wi-Fi Alliance's decision to press ahead is aimed at reassuring the consumer sector. Dubbing the move "very confusing to the market," he warned that enterprises choosing to adopt currently available 802.11n-compatible products risk locking themselves into technology that could be redundant within the next couple of years. He promised that Motorola would build equipment only on properly certified chipsets.

David Meyer reported for ZDNet UK in London.

Correction: This story incorrectly described the breadth of Motorola's Wi-Fi product range. The company makes Wi-Fi gear for consumers as well as for enterprises and carriers.
Editorial standards