Last week's IEEE meeting in London demonstrated that the move to the next stage of Wi-Fi is nearly ready. At the meeting, 802.11n committee members unanimously approved draft standard version 1.10, and agreed to create version 2.0, which should be ready in the near future. The outstanding issues before the committee were resolved, clearing all remaining hurdles to the interim standard. This means that the Wi-Fi Alliance can publish specifications that will allow manufacturers to build 11n products knowing that they will be compatible.
"Every once in a while the stars kind of align. People had very realistic expectations. For the few remaining issues we had to find simple reliable solutions," said Atheros Communications Chief Technology Officer Bill McFarland, who participated in the standards meetings. McFarland said that the primary hurdles were how to make sure that 11n devices would work with legacy 802.11 devices, and at the same time not interfere with them. Those devices include Wi-Fi devices using 802.11b and 11g, as well as Bluetooth devices.
The approval of the draft standard, and the almost certain approval of Draft 2.0, has brought about a flurry of announcements. McFarland, for example, said that his company would be bringing out products that meet the standard soon, and he said that existing pre-standard 11n products would be field-upgradable.