802.11n and Godot have a lot in common. Both were rumoured to exist a very long time ago, both have people talking endlessly about them and both appear unlikely to actually arrive anytime soon. Breaking from the pack D-Link and Netgear have got sick of waiting…
We got wind of Netgear’s frustration last month when it said it would be producing products based on the draft spec of 802.11n. D-Link was less vocal but both companies are now showing off the fruit of their loins.
Inverting the alphabet for no apparent reason we’ll start with Netgear. It has announced the ‘RangeMax Next Wireless Networking Kit – Gigabit Edition’ or WNB511T for short (kind of short). The draft 802.11n compliant device claims interoperable wireless speeds at up to 300Mbps (more than enough for multiple streams of HD content), is backwards compatible with 802.11b/g and employs MIMO technology for increased signal range. The separate PCMCIA card will need to be installed in any wireless device to take advantage of these increased speeds.
As for D-Link it has unveiled the Rangebooster N 650 series which will initially be composed of the DWA-547 Router and DWA-645 PCMCIA card. They use the Atheros AR5008 chipset but strangely the company has not stated an exact speed for either model instead it simply said they live up to the 802.11n standard which equates to a minimum throughput of 100Mbps. Whether there is more juice on tap than this remains to be seen.
The Netgear and D-Link devices will be out in the next month. Pricing has not yet been made available for the RangeMax Next devices but the DWA-547 and DWA-645 will cost $160 and $120 respectively. As usual with any ‘draft’ specification products it cannot be guaranteed they will work with the final spec. I think it is a fairly safe gamble to assume that a firmware upgrade is all that will be needed, but you wouldn’t get me to swear it in court on a stack of bibles.