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Don't mess with 802.11g, researcher warns

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Businesses have this week been warned to steer clear of 802.11g wireless LAN technology by market research organisation Gartner.

Devices based on the 802.11g specification operate in the same 2.4GHz band as current 802.11b WLAN products but have a maximum throughput of 54Mbps rather than 802.11b's 11Mbps.

Attractive though the 802.11g technology is, Gartner believes that until products based on the spec can be officially certified, buyers should put purchasing on hold.

Gartner claims buyers of today's 802.11g access points and base-stations risk "interoperability and performance problems in a multivendor environment, particularly with certified 802.11b products installed in PCs in a mixed 802.11b and 802.11g operating environment".

Last month, the Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit organisation that certifies the interoperability of 802.11 WLAN equipment, said it will begin certification testing of 802.11g products once the IEEE has approved the final standard.

But that approval has been a long time coming, and while the 802.11g is available in draft form, it has yet to become a true standard. In anticipation, many vendors have released 802.11g products anyway. Technically, all these 802.11g implementations are proprietary and can't be guaranteed to operate with other vendors' 802.11g units. And they may not pass the Wi-Fi Alliance's tests, says Gartner.

Certified products are likely to appear by the end of the year, and buyers should wait until then, suggests Gartner. At the very least, we'd add, stick to products that manufacturers promise can be flash upgraded to the official version of the standard in due course. ®

Related Link

Gartner: Stay Clear of Uncertified Wireless LAN Products (PDF)

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