IEEE Approves 802.11r WiFi Standard

Hopefully has time to get on with Draft-N now!

It might seem like the IEEE is incapable of approving any wireless standards but that isn’t quite the case, because the 802.11r, roaming WiFi standard has received the stamp of approval. 802.11n is still a draft, though, just as it has been for a long, long time now – 2005 in fact Intel was integrating it into the original Centrino platform back in 2005. Quite why the IEEE is approving a standard no-one is using, or has likely even heard of, rather than the near-ubiquitous Draft-N is beyond me!

Nonetheless, 802.11r, or Fast Basic Service Set Transition as it is also known, does offer a couple of nifty features that make it worthy of some attention. Living up to its roaming pretensions it allows for access point transfers of less than 50ms – even for authenticated connections.

The way this works is by allowing the connected device to authenticate and establish QoS states with the new access point before the transfer itself is made. The reason why the 50ms switching time is needed is because that’s what is required for maintaining a VoIP call between access points.

Of course in the four years that the IEEE has taken to reach this approval, the dream of city-wide, free-to-access, WiFi coverage has still failed to be realised. Nonetheless, as 802.11r is a standard related to transfer only, rather than data transmission itself, it does at least mean any future wireless standards will almost certainly be roaming-friendly, which is a good thing.

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