Wi-Fi spec approved, next under way

The cycle of increasing throughput in the wireless-networking industry continued Thursday as a standards-governing body approved a new specification and began work on another spec that promises to lead to even higher data-transmission speeds.

As expected, the Standards Board Review Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) approved the 802.11g specification as a standard. Industry insiders saw the ratification as a rubber stamp because products using pre-standard 802.11g-based components are already in the market and the latest version of the spec was seen as stable. The standard will now have to pass interoperability tests by the Wi-Fi Alliance in order to be deemed universally compatible in products from all the different chip and product manufacturers. Those tests have been underway for some time and the group is expected to announce certification in the coming months.

Certified interoperability and the establishment of a standard are significant to the wireless-networking industry because they ensure that consumers are likely to get a similar experience whenever they use an approved wireless-networking product. Some have credited standards and interoperability testing as a major factor in the success of the wireless-networking market. "Standards encourage mass production of devices and chips, which helps to bring prices down," said Allen Nogee, an analyst with research firm In-Stat/MDR. "Proprietary technologies don't usually get that."

The 802.11g standard allows wireless networks to transmit data at 54mbps, uses the 2.4GHz radio band and is meant to be compatible with equipment based on the earlier 802.11b wireless standard. Wi-Fi lets people wirelessly access and share resources on a network.

News source: C|net

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