Draft 802.11n Fails Vote

Did you already rush out and buy a router based on this?

Another day, another disappointing twist in the 802.11n standards saga…


Despite a flood of Draft n equipment in recent weeks from the likes of Belkin (above), Netgear, Linksys and D-Link to name but a few, on Wednesday a meeting of the IEEE 802.11 working group failed to grant approval to the bridging technology.

In fact, the outcome of the voting wasn’t even close. A 75 per cent overall majority is required in these matters and just 46.6 per cent stood up to back Draft 802.11n. The main reasons given for the defeat were concerns members had about Draft 802.11n’s interoperability with legacy devices and what was felt to be the deficient levels of protection installing these devices would have on existing 802.11b/g networks.

So what is the knock on effect for those of you who rushed down to the shops a hoppin’ and a skippin’ believing they had just got the drop on the next major wireless standard? Well, rather significant actually. Ultimately, the specifications for the technology you own have been rejected and therefore will be altered – at this stage we don’t know whether to a greater or lesser extent – before it can be brought back to the table and voted on again.

What this means is whatever technical tomfoolery does ultimately end up as the 802.11n standard, your equipment will be further from it than first thought. This could well mean you experience compatibility issues beyond something a flash update could fix, with a worst case scenario leaving you completely incompatible.

It’s the price paid by the early adopter, but – if you are one – you already knew that, right?

IEEE Standards Association

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