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802.11n Moves Closer To Ratification

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Infoworld reports that the IEEE 802.11n working group has approved draft version 1.10 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

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2000
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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

macrumors 68000
May 20, 2002
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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

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Jun 24, 2003
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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!
 

DanK104

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Sep 6, 2006
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October 2008?

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

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
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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

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Mar 24, 2003
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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

macrumors 6502a
Feb 2, 2005
906
13
Minnesota
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!
 

richard4339

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Sep 6, 2006
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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.
 

BlueRevolution

macrumors 603
Jul 26, 2004
6,054
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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

macrumors member
Nov 18, 2006
79
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Somewhere in Wisconsin
Powerbook G4 compatible

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

Cancelled
Apr 1, 2005
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Rocksaurus

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Sep 14, 2003
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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

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Dec 3, 2006
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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

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2004
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802.11n for Dummies...

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

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
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Moving closer to ratification? Sounds like it moved further away. The publication date is now October 2008. When I checked the IEEE timetable 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, 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

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Apr 16, 2004
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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

macrumors regular
Dec 13, 2003
100
6
Houston
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

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,403
206
Purcellville, VA
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.
Porchland said:
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.)
Porchland said:
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

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
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