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The IEEE 802.11 working group has tentatively set a new 802.11 wireless networking standard: 802.11g, which will allow theoretical data transfer rates of up to 54Mbps in the 2.4GHz spectrum.

802.11g is backwardly compatible with existing 802.11b-based networking kit, a major advantage for the standard. The (other) next generation standard, 802.11a, is not.

However, the IEEE will only ratify the exact 802.11g standard and its specifications next year when the working group meets again.

After Intersil's efforts were heavily dented earlier this week, its OFDM modulation technology - touted at one of the key components of 802.11g - is back in the running for use in the standard.

And so is Texas Instruments' rival technology, PBCC. The IEEE's new standard will borrow from both company's technologies. The working group is divided -and has been for more than a year - on which is preferable.

Intersil quickly released an announcement putting its support behind the proposal. It says it will develop and market a new chipset (implying that its existing technology isn't up to scratch?) to meet the 802.11g standard set by the IEEE. It says we can expect this by Q2 2002, using both OFDM and CCK modulation (the technology currently used by 802.11b).

So, a small step forward and lots more waiting. ®

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