WLAN group in turmoil as faction pushes for adjournment

WLAN group in turmoil as faction pushes for adjournment

The IEEE 802.11n task group that is creating a super-high wireless LAN bandwidth standard apparently is in turmoil over a surprise move by some members to adjourn this week's meeting, in Australia, without taking a key vote.

The adjournment of the meeting would push that vote back until at least this summer, delaying efforts to forge a compromise between two rival proposals, and possibly fueling animosities that could cause even further delay in creating the standard. The specification would be for WLANs that would sustain at least 100M-bit/sec throughput, compared to today's maximum throughput of about 20-24M bit/sec.

At this week's meeting in Cairns, members were supposed to take a second confirmation vote on what is currently the main proposal before the 11n group. That proposal is put forward by a vendor group called TGnSync. For this proposal to move to the next step in the standardization process, it would have to be backed by 75 percent of the attendees. If not, the 11n group then would begin a process of reconsidering other proposals, including the strongest alternative, from a rival group called World-Wide Spectrum Efficiency (WWiSE).

But late Tuesday (U.S. time), an attendee representing a TGnSync member, moved to adjourn the meeting without taking that vote, according to Jim Zyren, director of Marketing for Conexant's WLAN business unit. Conexant is a member of WWiSE. Zyren is in the U.S. this week, but has been in contact with a number of WWiSE members in Cairns.

E-mail queries to other 11n members, including at least one TGnSync representative, had not been answered by deadline.

To take effect, the motion to adjourn needs only a simple majority of the approximately 300 attendees in Cairns. The 11n group began a roll call vote on the adjournment motion, but didn't complete it before the day's session ended. According to another source, the vote to that point was a "dead heat." The adjournment roll call vote is scheduled to recommence late Wednesday night, Eastern Daylight Time.

"Adjourning the meeting is a huge waste of people's time and money," Zyren says. "And by our reading, it's a violation of the [11n] rules."

WWiSE members are hoping that the adjournment vote either fails or is ruled out of order by IEEE chairpersons, according to Zyren.

WWiSE expected that the TGnSync proposal would be unable to gain the 75 percent majority, a failure that would prompt serious efforts to work out a compromise proposal, Zyren says.

"Pulling this stunt to avoid the impression that TGnSync has run into a setback is counter-productive to working out a consensus-based standard," Zyren says.

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