Sunday, October 9, 2005

Enhanced Wireless Consortium Agrees on 802.11n

A new Enhanced Wireless Consortium has been established to accelerate the IEEE 802.11n standard development process and promote a technology specification for next-generation WLANs.

The Enhanced Wireless Consortium, which is backed by 27 Wi-Fi industry leaders, has developed a specification that supports speeds of up to 600 Mbps. The group is considering the inclusion of other advanced technologies -- including Space Time Block Coding (STBC) and beamforming -- that will enable systems to deliver greater range for wireless products across multiple market segments and support advanced multimedia applications.

The EWC specification comprises a number of technical elements, including:

  • Mixed-mode interoperability with 802.11a/b/g networks -- provides enhanced performance while maintaining communication with legacy devices;

  • PHY transmission rates up to 600Mbps -- supports applications requiring high data rates (such as transmitting multiple HDTV streams), and reduces battery drain by minimizing the time required to send and receive data streams;

  • Enhanced efficiency MAC with frame aggregation -- brings actual throughput closer to the raw PHY rate, providing end users with at least 100 Mbps application level bandwidth;

  • Use of 2.4GHz and/or 5GHz unlicensed bands -- matches the frequency plan of existing 802.11 devices;

  • 20MHz and/or 40MHz channel support -- uses more of the wireless spectrum when available to enhance performance;

  • Spatial multiplexing modes for simultaneous transmission using 1 to 4 antennas -- increases robustness of wireless connections to support very high data rates;

  • Enhanced range via multiple antennas and advanced coding -- provides for a wider coverage area with consistent wireless speeds.

The EWC plans to make its draft product specification available for public download and will provide implementation rights to all silicon suppliers and system vendors who join the organization. If the EWC specification is ratified by the IEEE, EWC members have agreed to make their intellectual property (IP) necessary to the specification available to all parties on reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms.

Among the current EWC members are Airoha, Apple, Atheros, Azimuth, Broadcom, Buffalo, Cisco Systems, Conexant, D-Link, Gateway, Intel Corporation, Lenovo, Linksys, LitePoint, Marvell, Metalink, NETGEAR, Ralink, Realtek, SANYO, Sony, Symbol Technologies, Toshiba, USRobotics, WildPackets, Winbond and ZyDAS.

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