802.11n Wi-Fi Still Not A Real Standard, Yet

While many consumers have used 802.11n wireless routers for around two years now, it was assumed that the 802.11n standard was finalized before now. However, that's not the case as verified by Bob Heile, the chairman of the IEEE 802.15 working group on Personal Area Networks. In a recent email, Heile confirmed that the IEEE 802.11n draft standard was finally submitted to the Standards Review Committee (RevCom).

"On other fronts, 802.11 was granted unconditional approval to forward 11n to RevCom," Heile wrote. "After a bit of a rocky period on getting acceptable coexistence language included in the draft, I was pleased to support this approval. Congratulations to Bruce for his patience and perseverance in getting this done. This was an extremely complex project."

According to PC Magazine, the road to this point has been a long one for the 802.11n standard, its evolution dating back to 2004. An early draft version was approved in January 2006 (1.0) that would eventually kick-start the first wave of routers implementing the draft-n standard. But when the draft 802.11n standard failed to pass in May 2006, the Wi-Fi Alliance eventually agreed to certify the draft-n--or rather pre-N, based on Draft 2.0--products in June 2007.

However, based on Heile's recent email, the 802.11n struggle is expected to come to a full close by September 11 instead of the predicted January 2010 publication date.

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  • so... Did manufacturers jump the gun? Can draft N 1.0 be firmware flashed to the final standard like they were betting? If not, then what about 2.0 ones?
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  • They jumped the gun for sure and, they knew what they were doing. It was all marketing bs. For one most users don't need 300mbps of wLAN bandwidth (assuming you upgrade ALL of your kit and can get the speeds anywhere near spec). The Internet will still go as fast as before.

    I used to work at a small ISP and I got so tired of people calling and complaining that "they got a 300mbps router and our service was still limiting them to -insert plan speeds here-". They just didn't know any better than what the salesman told them.

    Also, 99% of the "rangebooster" and "super-duper range N" is crap. Almost all have internal antennae with boosted power levels. A WRT54GL with the high gain set and dd-wrt can be had for (in most cases) half the money and it KILLS all this N crap the Best Buy/Frys kid wants you to buy.

    @weilin
    I don't have much to add to the compatibility conversation, but basically all N products had G and B modes. If you happen to find a half-assed v1 N product I suspect you could kill the N mode altogether and be all set. ...its better than nothing :)
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  • So it's still not a solid standard yet?

    It's certainly taking an awful long time to finalize the N standard...
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