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MacRumors
Jan 23, 2007, 09:57 AM
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Infoworld reports that the IEEE 802.11n working group has approved draft version 1.10 (http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/01/22/HN80211n_1.html) of the high-performance wireless networking specification. The draft specification will strive to play better with legacy 2.4 GHz devices, but minimize the impact on existing draft-802.11n compliant equipment including Apple's recently updated Airport Extreme and Macs that include 802.11n capable networking cards.

Manufacturers like Atheros, Intel, and Apple and their customers will be happy to hear that version 1.10 is compatible with the pre-802.11n products they have already created.

"It will only require a minor firmware upgrade for complete compatibility," said [Bill McFarland, a member of the working group just back from the London meeting where version 1.10 was approved].

The version will be released to the full 802.11n committee by the end of the month as draft version 2.0, although at least one more draft is expected before final approval (expected in October 2008).



mdntcallr
Jan 23, 2007, 10:02 AM
WOW, yay! finally real certified products will be on way!!

Let's hope they actually work together. not just one manufacturers with same co's.

dernhelm
Jan 23, 2007, 10:06 AM
Just ordered a new Airport extreme. Sure hope it is as simple as a firmware flash for full compatibility, or I'll be a little ticked off...

miketcool
Jan 23, 2007, 10:08 AM
So the FCC can approve draft devices? As in the draft is more of a reference to the IEEE 802.11 group?

Bring on them faster cancer waves!

Stridder44
Jan 23, 2007, 10:12 AM
Wow this sure is taking long. October 2008?? Yikes well at least theyre coming along.

FoxyKaye
Jan 23, 2007, 10:17 AM
Wasn't the "Pre-G" stuff from a few years ago ultimately incompatible with the current ratified "G" standard on the market today? I have vague memories of a lot of pissed off people who bought "Pre-G" stuff...

twoodcc
Jan 23, 2007, 10:22 AM
Wow this sure is taking long. October 2008?? Yikes well at least theyre coming along.

my thoughts as well! slowly but surely.....

DanK104
Jan 23, 2007, 10:24 AM
I'm also surprised at how long it will take. Can anyone who actually knows something about this stuff, explain why it takes so long?

Just wondering

ChrisA
Jan 23, 2007, 10:32 AM
I'm also surprised at how long it will take. Can anyone who actually knows something about this stuff, explain why it takes so long?


You mean explain it in more detail then the linked Computer World article?

The real reason is this: Have you ever read one of these specs? They need to be printed and mailed out and people need a long time to read them, weeks or months and there are still a few cycles of this process.

Stridder44
Jan 23, 2007, 10:37 AM
Wasn't the "Pre-G" stuff from a few years ago ultimately incompatible with the current ratified "G" standard on the market today? I have vague memories of a lot of pissed off people who bought "Pre-G" stuff...


*COUGH* rev-a stuff sucks *COUGH*

Early adopters (with electronics) = screwed somehow

Xeem
Jan 23, 2007, 11:05 AM
Bravo to Apple for once again picking a winning format before it was guaranteed to become the standard. It's about time that the 802.11 group moved to ratify n!

OwlsAndApples
Jan 23, 2007, 11:06 AM
Wow this sure is taking long. October 2008?? Yikes well at least theyre coming along.

Groan...2008 being talked about already! :)

richard4339
Jan 23, 2007, 12:05 PM
I'm also surprised at how long it will take. Can anyone who actually knows something about this stuff, explain why it takes so long?

Just wondering

Here's is the exact, word for word explanation from TFA.


While the spec is now much closer to completion, there are still a number of steps that must be taken before final approval.

The 2.0 draft spec is expected to be mailed to the membership for comments and voting by the end of January. Voting is expected to be completed on version 2.0 by the end of March with a new draft, version 3.0, ready by the end of May.

At that time, draft 3.0 would be created, and if 75 percent of the members approve, the spec will go into recirculation balloting.

"At this point, the documents are considered stable," said McFarland.

Assuming 3.0 is approved, it will go out for "sponsor" balloting by January 2008.

"The sponsor ballot process and completion takes time," said McFarland.

Final approval, called the publication date, is expected by October 2008.

Passante
Jan 23, 2007, 12:40 PM
With :apple: TV I may want to boot my G4's wifi. Any PCI cards out there?

BlueRevolution
Jan 23, 2007, 12:42 PM
You would think that the IEEE of all people would be advanced enough to conduct their reviews and balloting in a fast, efficient and computerized manner. What's with all this mailing of stuff, anyhow?

Although I guess it has more to do with politicking between companies than anything...

Switched2aMac
Jan 23, 2007, 12:48 PM
Anyone know if Powerbook G4's can get an "n" card or do I have to buy a MBP or MB. I want to get the new Airport Extreme Base Station due to the increased range and signal.

Peace
Jan 23, 2007, 01:10 PM
I wouldn't jump to too many hoorahs yet.I read that Broadcom.The chip in some of the iMacs isn't as good as the atheros chips.Broadcom has had some dificulty with keeping up the same speeds and range as the other chipsets although they do work together.

http://news.com.com/Wi-Fi+consumers+cautioned+to+wait+on+new+gear/2100-7351_3-6064605.html


Old yet still relevant to the Rev. B iMacs.But I'm sure a good firmware update will fix it.

Rocksaurus
Jan 23, 2007, 02:04 PM
Hold on everyone! Don't pay for the pre-n firmware upgrade now from Apple - Save your money for when they charge you for the ratified n firmware upgrade that this will require!!!!111!!11 :p

BuzWeaver
Jan 23, 2007, 02:41 PM
I wouldn't jump to too many hoorahs yet.I read that Broadcom.The chip in some of the iMacs isn't as good as the atheros chips.Broadcom has had some dificulty with keeping up the same speeds and range as the other chipsets although they do work together.

http://news.com.com/Wi-Fi+consumers+cautioned+to+wait+on+new+gear/2100-7351_3-6064605.html


Old yet still relevant to the Rev. B iMacs.But I'm sure a good firmware update will fix it.

Just an additional note and you may have seen this too:

http://news.com.com/2100-1044_3-6152489.html?part=rss&tag=2547-1_3-0-5&subj=news

Porchland
Jan 23, 2007, 02:43 PM
Somebody set me straight:

802.11n has about 200 megabits/second of throughput vs. 802.11g's 24 megabits/second of throughput. So 802.11n will give you roughly eight times the throughput of 802.11g.

Comcast advertises download speeds of up to 6 megabits/second, so 802.11g is about 4 times faster than commercial internet and 802.11n is about 30 times faster than commercial internet.

1. Is all of that right?

2. If so, why would I want to update my 802.11g at home (other than MORE!) to 802.11n if my wireless is already four times faster than my internet connection? Is the internet about to get faster? Does this have any practical application beyond streaming HD?

shamino
Jan 23, 2007, 02:53 PM
Moving closer to ratification? Sounds like it moved further away. The publication date is now October 2008. When I checked the IEEE timetable (http://grouper.ieee.org/groups/802/11/Reports/802.11_Timelines.htm) last week, it was April 2008. Sounds to me like they slipped their schedule by 6 months.
I'm also surprised at how long it will take. Can anyone who actually knows something about this stuff, explain why it takes so long?
There are many reasons, but the biggest one is that a spec like 802.11 isn't something you can come up with by simply discussing it in a big room.

Working group members may come up with all kinds of interesting ideas, but once that is done, they have to go and test those ideas. This means building prototype hardware and software, and running lots of tests. This could take several months to complete.

And once you get something that you think is good, you have to convince the voting members of the working group. They may have other ideas, which may be better or worse than your own. In the case of the 802.11 working group, they have meetings (http://grouper.ieee.org/groups/802/11/Meetings/Meeting_Plan.html), every two months, where group members can present papers and promote/defend their ideas.

I don't think there can be a way to speed up the process. Without the extensive testing, you'll end up with flaky specs. And without consensus, each vendor will end up shipping an incompatible product.
The real reason is this: Have you ever read one of these specs? They need to be printed and mailed out and people need a long time to read them, weeks or months and there are still a few cycles of this process.
IEEE documents are all available for download (but only for free if you are a member of the working group - everyone else has to pay.) Yes, they are huge and require a lot of careful reading, but that's hardly the only reason for a slow process.

The biggest reason is that designing stuff like a 540Mbps WiFi link isn't easy. We're talking about speeds that were considered impossible over fiber-optics only a few short years ago. There is no obvious solution, so you get a lot of companies proposing a lot of different ideas. It takes time to come up with a workable, stable solution and to then gain consensus within the working group.

Passante
Jan 23, 2007, 02:56 PM
Somebody set me straight:

802.11n has about 200 megabits/second of throughput vs. 802.11g's 24 megabits/second of throughput. So 802.11n will give you roughly eight times the throughput of 802.11g.

Comcast advertises download speeds of up to 6 megabits/second, so 802.11g is about 4 times faster than commercial internet and 802.11n is about 30 times faster than commercial internet.

1. Is all of that right?

2. If so, why would I want to update my 802.11g at home (other than MORE!) to 802.11n if my wireless is already four times faster than my internet connection? Is the internet about to get faster? Does this have any practical application beyond streaming HD?

1. So you can stream audio and video content.
2. Better range and less interference.

bmoorhouse
Jan 23, 2007, 03:00 PM
Somebody set me straight:

. . . why would I want to update my 802.11g at home (other than MORE!) to 802.11n if my wireless is already four times faster than my internet connection?

If you only have one computer connected to the internet, than perhaps you would not want to upgrade to n. On the other hand, if you have more than one computer and share data between the two (any type of data, not just HD), than the faster n standard would be beneficial.

Also, don't forget that the n standard will provide twice the range of G. So even if you only have one computer, you may want to upgrade simply for the increased freedom of improved range.

shamino
Jan 23, 2007, 03:06 PM
802.11n has about 200 megabits/second of throughput vs. 802.11g's 24 megabits/second of throughput. So 802.11n will give you roughly eight times the throughput of 802.11g.
This is based on some real-world estimates, yes.

The specs talk about maximum speeds of 540Mbps for 802.11n and 54Mbps for 802.11g, which is a 10x speedup. But these are under ideal conditions, and I don't think anybody shipping a pre-n device today supports 540Mbps.
Comcast advertises download speeds of up to 6 megabits/second, so 802.11g is about 4 times faster than commercial internet and 802.11n is about 30 times faster than commercial internet.
Well, faster than what Comcast advertises. You can get internet access much faster than 6Mbps if you want to pay for it. My employer has a 10Mbps (metro Ethernet, I think) link. I know of companies that lease T3 lines (about 45Mbps.)
2. If so, why would I want to update my 802.11g at home (other than MORE!) to 802.11n if my wireless is already four times faster than my internet connection? Is the internet about to get faster? Does this have any practical application beyond streaming HD?
If all you do is access the internet over WiFi, then no, there's no good reason to upgrade.

But many people (including myself) have a LAN at home. Between myself and various friends who visit, there may be anywhere between 6 and 10 computers on my home LAN. They don't just access the internet. They also access each other. When I need to copy large amounts of data (say, 2GB MPEG video clips, or a directory full of AAC files), I can save a lot of time using a high speed link.

Today, when I need to transfer stuff like this between my PowerMac and my iBook, I always use an Ethernet cable. The 100M (full duplex, via a switch) is substantially faster than 802.11g WiFi (top speed of 54Mbps, shared by all other wireless nodes, and with the overhead of encryption.)

And, as you say, streaming video is going to start coming to people's homes real soon now. Devices like Apple TV use up a lot of bandwidth within your home, regardless of what your internet connection's speed may be.

mkrishnan
Jan 23, 2007, 03:15 PM
Anyone know if Powerbook G4's can get an "n" card or do I have to buy a MBP or MB. I want to get the new Airport Extreme Base Station due to the increased range and signal.

It's likely there will be / are 802.11n USB 2.0 adapters (http://www.wi-fitechnology.com/displayarticle2690.html). If you have a 15" or 17" powerbook, PC Card options also exist (http://www.versiontracker.com/php/search.php?mode=basic&action=search&str=mass+email&plt%5B%5D=macosx&sourceid=Mozilla-search).

The harder issue to assess is the availability of OS X drivers for them....

081440
Jan 23, 2007, 03:40 PM
Somebody set me straight:

802.11n has about 200 megabits/second of throughput vs. 802.11g's 24 megabits/second of throughput. So 802.11n will give you roughly eight times the throughput of 802.11g.

Comcast advertises download speeds of up to 6 megabits/second, so 802.11g is about 4 times faster than commercial internet and 802.11n is about 30 times faster than commercial internet.

1. Is all of that right?

2. If so, why would I want to update my 802.11g at home (other than MORE!) to 802.11n if my wireless is already four times faster than my internet connection? Is the internet about to get faster? Does this have any practical application beyond streaming HD?


As others have said the faster speed helps a bunch with computer to computer transfers, but now there are internet link that are out pacing 802.11g. Verizon FiOS is a prime example with speeds up to 100 mbps (via fiber optic cables) for home users updating will improve users online experience. I for one will update soon so that I can increase my range for the laptop, but it will also speed up the internet for me and data transfers between computers.

Heart Break Kid
Jan 23, 2007, 04:30 PM
This may be a studpid question, so please bare with me

Would it be possible to upgrade my first generation Macbook with an internal card that is 802.11n? Will apple be selling such a product anytime soon?

Thanks
HBK

pito189
Jan 23, 2007, 04:44 PM
That would be glorious but I don't think it could be done without voiding your warranty or sending it back to apple for some sort of upgrade.

This may be a studpid question, so please bare with me

Would it be possible to upgrade my first generation Macbook with an internal card that is 802.11n? Will apple be selling such a product anytime soon?

Thanks
HBK

mkrishnan
Jan 23, 2007, 04:54 PM
That would be glorious but I don't think it could be done without voiding your warranty or sending it back to apple for some sort of upgrade.

Depending on your definition of "internal," not necessarily. There could certainly be an ExpressCard slot upgrade. But then it'll need drivers...

shamino
Jan 23, 2007, 05:12 PM
As others have said the faster speed helps a bunch with computer to computer transfers, but now there are internet link that are out pacing 802.11g. Verizon FiOS is a prime example with speeds up to 100 mbps (via fiber optic cables) for home users updating will improve users online experience.
Who told you that you will get a 100M connection? The fibers may be capable of that much (actually, fiber optics are capable of much much more than 100M), but that's not what you can buy. At least not as a home user.

According to Verizon's price list (http://www22.verizon.com/content/consumerfios/packages+and+prices/packages+and+prices.htm), FiOS is rate-limited to the amount of bandwidth you pay for. 5Mbps (for $40/mo), 15Mbps (for $50/mo) or 30Mbps (for $180/mo).

This is nice and fast, but it's less than 802.11g's capacity, and a lot less than 100M.

GFLPraxis
Jan 23, 2007, 05:31 PM
Somebody set me straight:

802.11n has about 200 megabits/second of throughput vs. 802.11g's 24 megabits/second of throughput. So 802.11n will give you roughly eight times the throughput of 802.11g.

Comcast advertises download speeds of up to 6 megabits/second, so 802.11g is about 4 times faster than commercial internet and 802.11n is about 30 times faster than commercial internet.

1. Is all of that right?

2. If so, why would I want to update my 802.11g at home (other than MORE!) to 802.11n if my wireless is already four times faster than my internet connection? Is the internet about to get faster? Does this have any practical application beyond streaming HD?

File transfers. Same reason people use gigabit ethernet over 100 mbps ethernet over the 10 mbps ethernet nobody uses anymore (even though no internet connection in the average home will even max out the 10 mbps one).

Chef Medeski
Jan 23, 2007, 06:21 PM
Somebody set me straight:

802.11n has about 200 megabits/second of throughput vs. 802.11g's 24 megabits/second of throughput. So 802.11n will give you roughly eight times the throughput of 802.11g.

Comcast advertises download speeds of up to 6 megabits/second, so 802.11g is about 4 times faster than commercial internet and 802.11n is about 30 times faster than commercial internet.

1. Is all of that right?

2. If so, why would I want to update my 802.11g at home (other than MORE!) to 802.11n if my wireless is already four times faster than my internet connection? Is the internet about to get faster? Does this have any practical application beyond streaming HD?

RANGE.... G is plenty fast besides network transfers to me. But its range is sucky!

SiliconAddict
Jan 23, 2007, 08:06 PM
Maybe we can get charged by Apple for certified drivers as well. Woo hoo!

rick98761
Jan 23, 2007, 11:31 PM
This may be a dumb question but I will ask anyway. I have a first gen macbook without the n card and a 24in iMac with the n card. If I got a n basestation would the macbook drag the entire network down to g speeds or just the speed between the base station and the macbook. I would like to get a appletv and stream hd content, but I'm concerned about my macbook bogging down the entire network.

pito189
Jan 23, 2007, 11:31 PM
Express card would be bad ass, but if there was an antenna sticking out past the edge of the enclosure... I don't know if Jobs would stand for that though, messing up the pretty lines of his laptops.

It would have to be 3rd party perhaps one of those external USB deals.

Depending on your definition of "internal," not necessarily. There could certainly be an ExpressCard slot upgrade. But then it'll need drivers...

SeaFox
Jan 24, 2007, 12:50 AM
So the FCC can approve draft devices? As in the draft is more of a reference to the IEEE 802.11 group?
Bring on them faster cancer waves!

Yeah, I think what we're seeing here is the IEEE dropped the ball. :rolleyes:

They have taken so long to ratify the standard that manufacturers and the public said "screw them" long ago and gone on without an official spec. So now psuedo-N gear has enough market penetration that the roles have been reversed, in effect. The IEEE now has to change their spec to match what has already been done to keep from pissing off a bunch of consumers.

Peace
Jan 24, 2007, 01:59 AM
Yeah, I think what we're seeing here is the IEEE dropped the ball. :rolleyes:

They have taken so long to ratify the standard that manufacturers and the public said "screw them" long ago and gone on without an official spec. So now psuedo-N gear has enough market penetration that the roles have been reversed, in effect. The IEEE now has to change their spec to match what has already been done to keep from pissing off a bunch of consumers.

And rightfully so!

MacinDoc
Jan 24, 2007, 02:56 AM
Depending on your definition of "internal," not necessarily. There could certainly be an ExpressCard slot upgrade. But then it'll need drivers...
Of course, that would not work with the MacBook, which doesn't have a slot. Should work with MBP though.

shamino
Jan 24, 2007, 08:20 AM
This may be a dumb question but I will ask anyway. I have a first gen macbook without the n card and a 24in iMac with the n card. If I got a n basestation would the macbook drag the entire network down to g speeds or just the speed between the base station and the macbook.
This is a more interesting question than you may realize.

802.11n can run on two different sets of frequencies. It can run at 2.4GHz, which is what b/g networks use (and what draft-n devices have historically used until now). It can also run at 5GHz (which is used by 802.11a).

I don't think anyone knows, yet, whether Apple's device uses 2.4GHz, 5GHz, or possibly both. If it uses 2.4GHz, then I will expect non-n devices to slow down the network, but not all the way to b/g speeds (much like how a b device will slow down a g network, but not all the way to b speeds.)

If Apple's device uses 5GHz, then I wouldn't expect any effect, since the b/g devices will not be interfering.

We'll know for sure when the new base stations and firmware updates start shipping.
Yeah, I think what we're seeing here is the IEEE dropped the ball. :rolleyes:

They have taken so long to ratify the standard that manufacturers and the public said "screw them" long ago and gone on without an official spec. So now psuedo-N gear has enough market penetration that the roles have been reversed, in effect. The IEEE now has to change their spec to match what has already been done to keep from pissing off a bunch of consumers.
I'm sure this is a part of it, but I doubt it's the whole picture.

If IEEE rules are anything like IETF rules, then it is actually a requirement for anything new to be proven (in the form of shipping product) before that something can be approved as a standard.

This usually doesn't bother customers, as long as the draft-spec products shipped can be upgraded for free/cheap to the final spec when it gets approved.

Chef Medeski
Jan 24, 2007, 03:24 PM
This may be a dumb question but I will ask anyway. I have a first gen macbook without the n card and a 24in iMac with the n card. If I got a n basestation would the macbook drag the entire network down to g speeds or just the speed between the base station and the macbook. I would like to get a appletv and stream hd content, but I'm concerned about my macbook bogging down the entire network.
This is a more interesting question than you may realize.

802.11n can run on two different sets of frequencies. It can run at 2.4GHz, which is what b/g networks use (and what draft-n devices have historically used until now). It can also run at 5GHz (which is used by 802.11a).

I don't think anyone knows, yet, whether Apple's device uses 2.4GHz, 5GHz, or possibly both. If it uses 2.4GHz, then I will expect non-n devices to slow down the network, but not all the way to b/g speeds (much like how a b device will slow down a g network, but not all the way to b speeds.)

If Apple's device uses 5GHz, then I wouldn't expect any effect, since the b/g devices will not be interfering.

We'll know for sure when the new base stations and firmware updates start shipping.
I'm sure this is a part of it, but I doubt it's the whole picture.

If IEEE rules are anything like IETF rules, then it is actually a requirement for anything new to be proven (in the form of shipping product) before that something can be approved as a standard.

This usually doesn't bother customers, as long as the draft-spec products shipped can be upgraded for free/cheap to the final spec when it gets approved.

It uses both. So there will be no slowdown.

shamino
Jan 24, 2007, 03:57 PM
It uses both. So there will be no slowdown.
More accurately, Apple's web site says both are supported, so we shouldn't expect any slowdown.

But as you must know, things don't always work the way we expect.

ClimbingTheLog
Jan 24, 2007, 05:44 PM
Hold on everyone! Don't pay for the pre-n firmware upgrade now from Apple - Save your money for when they charge you for the ratified n firmware upgrade that this will require!!!!111!!11 :p

Oh, I expect to have to pay $2 at least six times before the standard is done and when optional extensions to the final become available.

Because the accountants made them do it.... whatever.

ClimbingTheLog
Jan 24, 2007, 05:48 PM
Bravo to Apple for once again picking a winning format before it was guaranteed to become the standard. It's about time that the 802.11 group moved to ratify n!

Yeah, because it was so unclear whether 802.11n would ever be ratified..
:rolleyes:

shamino
Jan 25, 2007, 09:25 AM
Express card would be bad ass, but if there was an antenna sticking out past the edge of the enclosure... I don't know if Jobs would stand for that though, messing up the pretty lines of his laptops.
I think we were referring to third-party cards.

I don't think Apple will ever release n-hardware for older systems. Just like they never released g-hardware for systems that shipped with the original AirPort (802.11b) card.
Oh, I expect to have to pay $2 at least six times before the standard is done and when optional extensions to the final become available.
I can't tell if you're being sarcastic, pessimistic, or seriously think that this will happen.

Based on the extensive postings from accountants, we know there is no requirement to charge for upgrades. There are some procedural rules regarding when you can report earnings, and those rules get ugly if this update is free.

This isn't because it's an update. It's because a free update would be admitting "we shipped incomplete hardware when you bought it". That admission, combined with the fact that the earnings from the sales have already been reported, creates a mess.

Upgrading from a draft-n firmware to a final-n firmware, however, doesn't trigger these rules. That upgrade won't give you any new capabilities - you'll have the same high-bandwidth WiFi connection as before. Therefore, it's not the same as admitting an incomplete prior shipment, therefore it shouldn't trigger any accounting rules, therefore there shouldn't have to be a charge.

But even if it does trigger these accounting rules, it will only be admitting that the $2 enabler (from g to n) was incomplete, not the entire computer. So only $2 of earnings per laptop would need to be restated, not the full price of the MacBook. This amount of money bay be small enough that they can absorb this restatement without creating larger problems.

jaw04005
Mar 14, 2007, 09:40 PM
Wasn't the "Pre-G" stuff from a few years ago ultimately incompatible with the current ratified "G" standard on the market today? I have vague memories of a lot of pissed off people who bought "Pre-G" stuff...

Apple's AirPort Extreme was released a few months before "G" was ratified. However, a firmware patch updated the draft-g to the final spec.