Print 18 comment(s) - last by PrinceGaz.. on Oct 2 at 5:39 PM

New tag lines are also offered for devices passing certain tests

Products supporting 802.11 draft-n speeds have been on the market for a while now. Routers, PC cards, and USB adapters have been hitting the market that were based on the draft-n specification for well over a year.

The IEEE finally ratified the 802.11n specification this summer leading the way for more products to come to market and the dropping of the draft-n moniker. Many of the existing products on the market that were draft-n complaint were named as 802.11n compliant the day the final specifications were ratified.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced a new updated Wi-Fi Certified n program that introduces new logos and taglines for 802.11n products. "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n builds on the success of our draft-n certification program and marks a point of maturity in 802.11n technology," said Wi-Fi Alliance executive director Edgar Figueroa. "Our expanded testing and branding program helps ensure the best user experience in the context of the Wi-Fi industry's continued innovation and the evolving landscape of products implementing next-generation Wi-Fi."

The Wi-Fi Certified N program maintains the requirements set forth in the draft of the specification and adds some new specifications for optional features. The optional features include support for simultaneous transmission of three spatial streams, A-MPDU packet aggregation for more efficient data transfers, STBC for multiple antenna encoding for better reliability, and channel coexistence when used in the 40MHz operation of the 2.4GHz band.

The new logo is longer and shows all the protocols that the device supports going back to early versions of Wi-Fi. With the new certification program, some devices with certain features that pass tests will be able to be labeled as "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED dual-stream n" or "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED multi-stream n."

"Given the wide array of 802.11n devices now emerging, and their varying capabilities, the launch of an updated Wi-Fi certification program is an important next step for the industry," said Victoria Fodale, senior analyst and market intelligence manager at In-Stat. "Wi-Fi Alliance's leadership, through testing and the updated branding and labeling, will continue to help users have the best experience with advanced Wi-Fi technology."

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That only took how long?
By CrazyBernie on 10/1/2009 12:19:45 PM , Rating: 4
I hope we don't have to wait this long for the next "certified" wireless upgrade.

RE: That only took how long?
By RocketChild on 10/1/2009 12:25:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, maybe the coalition will learn from this last round and look to make more defined and specific goals next time; instead of trying to add little things later and constantly shifting directions.

RE: That only took how long?
By MrBlastman on 10/1/2009 2:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah seriously, this took how many years?

I wonder how many of the existing non-certified N devices will be bios upgradeable to the certified standard? This is the main reason I've held off from buying anything N until now.

RE: That only took how long?
By jonmcc33 on 10/1/2009 4:49:43 PM , Rating: 2
Most will probably only need a firmware update.

RE: That only took how long?
By dyeager on 10/2/2009 9:03:00 AM , Rating: 2
Many of the early draft n wireless routers are now obsolete thus their firmware will never be updated, for example the Netgear Rangemax 240. This is unfortunate for others as many of these routers are neighbor hostile - they will tie down two of the three unique channels. (The N routers will listen for other traffic thus giving others a chance).

RE: That only took how long?
By AlexWade on 10/1/2009 6:28:38 PM , Rating: 3
I think it was 7 years since the original idea. Looking ahead, the next 802.11 standard will likely be available 2016. Just in time for the last Olympics ever (according to the Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara).

Silly question...
By Engine of End on 10/1/2009 12:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
With N now ratified, will wireless access points with N become available? Practically all the N devices I have seen are routers (which I don't really need).

Or I could be missing something since I am not all too familiar with 802.11n.

RE: Silly question...
By RjBass on 10/1/2009 1:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Silly question...
By Engine of End on 10/1/2009 8:24:28 PM , Rating: 2
I must admit I have an affinity for Cisco/Linksys hardware.

Because of the publication of this article, I finally got around to checking the Linksys website. Lo and behold, I saw an 802.11n WAP.

RE: Silly question...
By PrinceGaz on 10/2/2009 5:39:24 PM , Rating: 2
Even my cheap Belkin N1 router has an option to act as an access point as well, in fact I expect most routers do. You just log into it and select the relevant page:

Wireless > Use as Access Point

ADVANCED FEATURE! The Router can be configured to act as strictly an Access Point, bypassing all of the routing and firewall functions. To do so, select "Enable" and type in the IP address you want the Access Point to have.

I wouldn't particularly recommend my router though as it doesn't support WPA encryption. Or rather, it allows you to set up WPA or WPA2 encryption, but then decides not to use any encryption at all once you've finished, despite saying encrption is enabled (but leaving blank the bit where it should say what sort of encryption). At least WEP works properly, which is better than nothing. Just. Perhaps they'll manage to fix that if they ever get around to releasing updated official N firmware.

RE: Silly question...
By gstrickler on 10/1/2009 2:01:40 PM , Rating: 3
Most routers can be used as a simple WAP, just connect everything to the LAN side, disable the DHCP server, and on some models configure the WAN for a static IP.

I've found that WAP are often more expensive than Wi-Fi routers, simply because of sales volume. There is a far larger market for the routers, so they tend to have lower prices. That's despite the fact that they're often identical hardware.

RE: Silly question...
By oTAL on 10/2/2009 7:39:40 AM , Rating: 3
1 - Buy a router compatible with Tomato -
2 - Install Tomato on it (or one of the several alternatives like DD-WRT)
3 - Find out that your router is actually a mini computer capable of doing so much more than you ever imagined...
ex: AP, WDS, webserver, fileserver, torrents....

"N" took waayy too long to finally get certified..
By thudo on 10/1/2009 1:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
"G" was so much more a success story + backed it up at the time with much better speeds then this "N" fiasco. "N" just isn't that impressed is it? Its speeds didn't scale well with how "G" did at its time in the early-mid 2000s.

Now two years ago I heard about the next successor to "N" which sounded really promising. Guess we'll wait for another 4+ years of certification limbo but this time have a solid wireless performer which warps your biology as it churns through the ether. 5+Ghz open-air microwave'ing, anyone? :)#)

By Targon on 10/1/2009 5:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
Just look at bandwidth from ISPs though, and most people will not find their wireless speed as the limiting factor at this point with G. So, N helps the speed throughout the house/network, but it won't really improve browsing speed.

By Einy0 on 10/1/2009 9:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
The extra speed will be nice PC to PC file transfers etc...

By AlexWade on 10/1/2009 6:24:49 PM , Rating: 3
It appears to me that the main advantage of 802.11n is range and not speed.

By GreenEnvt on 10/1/2009 12:20:04 PM , Rating: 5
Ugh, so there isn't going to be just 'Wireless-N', there will be wireless N with cheese, wireless N with bacon, double wireless-N, etc...Why oh why.

RE: Why?
By sebastianem on 10/1/2009 12:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, GrennEnvt.

I can already see all the 'Good', 'Better', and 'Best', product labels.

I'll take my 'Best' with bacon and cheese, please.

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