IEEE ratifies 802.11n wireless standard

New spec, already used in draft version, will increase wireless LAN performance

It’s official: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has formally approved the 802.11n specification for wireless LANs, seven years after the ratification process began and a couple years after information technology shops started using “draft-n” devices.

The specification, the latest in a series of 802.11 wireless specs, greatly increases the data transfer rates and ranges for wireless devices, the IEEE said in a statement announcing 802.11n’s approval.

After draft 2.0 of the specification was released in early 2007, vendors started producing draft-n access points and other equipment. Quote a few organizations decided not to wait for the final approval. Earlier this year, for example, the University of Minnesota installed 9,500 draft-n access points, covering more than 300 buildings, in what university officials said was the largest 802.11n initiative to date. The GCN Lab reviewed six draft-n devices in March.

The final standard hasn’t changed much from the draft, although there are some option features, including packet aggregation and a technique for improving transition redundancy and reliability, according to Network World.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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