802.11n Wi-Fi Standard to Emerge in Mid-2006

Unified 802.11n Wi-Fi Standard to Emerge in Mid-2006

SAN JOSE, Calif.—The first products that support a fully unified 802.11n Wi-Fi standard will start reaching the market in the second quarter of 2006, according to some of the wireless industry executives who are working to define the standard.

Another in the long line of Wi-Fi technical standards, 802.11n is based on a new radio technology called MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) that allows the transmission of up to 100M bps over a much wider range than the earlier versions.

While 802.11n is interesting, McKenzie said his company is even more interested in the WiMax 802.16 standard because "it's the real future of wireless" and represents the "true emergence of Wi-Fi/cellular networks." Such networks will allow people to roam at will and connect their mobile devices to the Internet from coast to coast.

"WiMax is a better suited specification for that, and that is why WiMax is so much more important than [802.11n,]" McKenzie said. WiMax will allow Wi-Fi to achieve all that it can achieve in terms of services for consumers, he said.

Instead of having one network for cell phones or another network for PDAs, service providers will be able to "build one network, with one infrastructure on one standard that will support everything, voice, data, everything," McKenzie said.