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Issue #2003 - 19 (June 2003)
(Updated June 12, 2003)


IEEE Ratifies 802.11g High-Speed Wireless Standard

Source: Marie Lingblom, CRN (CMP)

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Thursday officially ratified the much-anticipated 802.11g wireless standard. 

Vendors and solution providers have expressed enthusiasm about the new 802.11g standard because it promises to extend data rates from the current, popular 802.11b 11-Mbps to a projected 54 Mbps, while still maintaining backward compatibility with 802.11b. 

Estimates place the actual throughput connection speeds much lower, at about 20 Mbps in a crowded 2.4GHz frequency. The new standard, however, is an improvement from 802.11b and a more affordable alternative to the higher-octane, more expensive 802.11a, which operates on 5GHz. 

John McHan, director of business development at Wireless Information Networks, a wireless solution provider based in Willowbrook, Ill., applauded the ratification of 802.11g. 

"What's good about [802.11g] is now you just give a flash upgrade to the equipment, so there's not as much expense for the customer," said McHan. "It's nice for us because we install everybody's equipment and, in different markets, different things can happen." 

A good example is Wireless Information's educational institution customers that want to upgrade installed 802.11b access points, McHan said. Ratification of the 802.11g standard now provides a solid, economical choice for those students who can't afford the more expensive equipment associated with 802.11a. 

"So that's a great example of someone stuck in a situation that if they upgrade to IEEE 802.11a they are going to leave some of their customers behind," said McHan. "If they go to IEEE 802.11g, it's just a flash upgrade with the same equipment and you can still use 802.11b in a IEEE 802.11g environment." 

Ray Robidoux, president of NetGear, a wireless networking vendor based in Santa Clara, Calif., reacted positively to the ratification of a standard that delivers more horsepower. He also expressed satisfaction in having waited to release prestandard products until the company was comfortable that what it delivered to market would be upgradable to the final version, even if there were changes. 

To help its solution provider partners better tackle the challenge of continued, emerging wireless technology standards, NetGear has invested in a couple of wireless testing centers at its facility, said Robidoux. 

"Having that ability to test and fine-tune your circuitry and your performance is important to our VAR customers in planning how they lay out a wireless network for their customers," he said. 

Meanwhile, NetGear will soon release a free, downloadable firmware upgrade for its existing line of wireless networking products based on the IEEE 802.11g-draft specification. The upgraded firmware will incorporate the final changes of the 802.11g specification ratified Thursday.

Source: Marie Lingblom, CRN (CMP)

For more information: http://www.ieee.org

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: IEEE 802.11g ratification has moved faster than what traditional time lines are at IEEE. It knows better than they will miss the train unless they run fast enough. The vendors are running all over the landscape anyhow. Therefore, it is better to create a compatibility standard and roadmap.

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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