Is 802.11n going to be out of date before it even launches?
Now here’s an interesting development that throws a cat amongst the pigeons. Not only has the much delayed 802.11n standard still not appeared, but now it seems it has been massively outperformed even before release.
The proverbial feline in question is DSL chipset manufacturer MetaLink Broadband which has produced a chipset it says is capable of delivering data throughput of more than 240Mbps. Called the MtW8170 (yes, small “t”), it can be embedded into digital video recorders, set-top boxes, high definition TVs, media adaptors and – of course – wireless routers.
To be more media friendly, MetaLink has branded MtW8170 based technology WLANPlus and intends to roll out a whole family of WLANPlus multimedia networking products which it rather bullishly promotes as “the first Real-MIMO-based (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) wireless chipsets”. On top of this, the MtW8170 chip adheres to 802.11n standard drafts, fully supporting advanced 802.11i security features and the 802.11e QoS standard.
Now bravado aside, this development does pose an interesting problem. Namely, what happens to a long overdue technology standard when it going to be battered by technology that will beat it to market? After all, 802.11n’s initial target was for “a minimum of 100Mbps throughput” at the top of the MACsub-layer (thanks for the qualification Michael), not giving much overhead for smooth video streaming once real world conditions are factored in and there have been claims before now that the target speed is not high enough.
Naturally, the last thing we want to see is a further delay in 802.11n, but with proprietary 802.11g “plus” standards popping up everywhere from likes of Belkin, D-Link and Netgear it is clear that everyone is getting impatient.
Their moods are unlikely to be improved when the first samples of MetaLink’s MtW8170 chip become available in Q3.