IEEE steps closer to high-speed WLAN standard

IEEE steps closer to high-speed WLAN standard

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) task group charged with creating a high-speed wireless LAN standard last night eliminated one of the two remaining technical proposals.

The results of the vote were announced at the start of Thursday's morning session of the Task Group N (TGn) meeting in Atlanta.

TGn is charged with creating a WLAN standard that will deliver actual throughput of over 100M bit/sec, a quantum leap above the 20M bit/sec for today's 802.11g and 11a WLANs. The current 802.11 standard eats up over half of the 54M bit/sec data rate for both 11g and 11a.

Members voted 178 in favor of the plan from an industry group called TGn Sync, while 153 voted for a broadly similar plan from rival group WWiSE. Both make use a radio technology called multiple inputs multiple outputs, or MIMO, to dramatically boost the amount of data that can be sent over a radio connection.

Under the IEEE's elaborate procedural rules, this "down select" step means that the TGn Sync plan now goes through a series of confirmation votes to garner the backing of 75 percent of the members, says TG member Jeff Gilbert, director of algorithms and processing design for Atheros Communications, which is part of TGn Sync. Those votes are taking place Thursday.

If this plan gains the needed percentage, it becomes the basis of a draft 11n standard, according to Gilbert. If the plan fails to get the super-majority, TGn Sync members will work with the refuseniks, and possibly make a range of changes in the proposal, perhaps including some optional capabilities that WWiSE members might insist upon. Then the confirmation votes would begin again at the next task group meeting in May.

Members of WWiSE have not yet responded to requests for comment.

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