Feeds

Atheros updates Wi-Fi speed booster tech

Will no longer degrade nearby WLANs

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Wi-Fi chip maker Atheros this week has updated its 'standards plus' WLAN speed-boosting technology, Super G, to make devices based on its 802.11g chipsets better network neighbours.

Super G extends 802.11g's maximum throughput of 54Mbps to 108Mbps. Data compression and burst transmission together form one part of the story, the other is the 'bonding' multiple channels into a single, fatter data pipe.

It's this second element, called Turbo mode, that has caused all the fuss. Last November, rival Wi-Fi chip maker Broadcom alleged that Turbo operation slowed down any nearby wireless network that was sticking to the IEEE Wi-Fi standard.

Super G's Turbo mode simultaneously runs data across channels five and six of the 11 22MHz-wide segments into which the Wi-Fi standard subdivides the 2.4GHz band. Because all but three channels overlap there is inevitably some interference with adjacent channels, but this is an issue with almost all Wi-Fi products, and one of the many reasons users never see full speed.

Not so, alleges Broadcom. It claimed Turbo cross-channel interference stretches further than the IEEE standard 'allows', causing problems with networks that have flipped to channel one or 11. As a result, Wi-Fi networks utilising these bands slow down by dropping their data rate in order to reduce the number of errors induced by the interference.

Independent tests confirmed Broadcom's claims. "A Super G wireless LAN running at full speed will interfere with an 11g WLAN also running at full speed. Severe throughput loss in the 11g WLAN can occur up to 30 feet away and significant throughput loss may still be seen around 50 feet," wrote Tim Higgins of web site Small Net Builder.

The upgrade, released this week and dubbed Dynamic Turbo, forces Atheros-based devices to check for traffic in the channels they hope to combine. If the channels are clear, the chipset bonds them. It continually checks for other traffic, and turns off bonding if another network using the bonded channels is detected.

Atheros spins the update not as a fix to the interference problem, but as an innovation that plays to the US Federal Communications Commission's cognitive radio initiative - 'smart' wireless devices that choose the least used part of the available spectrum to operate in.

Indeed, the companies denies that any of its hardware manufacturer customers have received complaints from end users that they have suffered problems with the technology. Not that they would, of course - it's other folks' networks that suffer.

Not that they will now, thanks to the upgrade. Atheros has shipped the software to its customers, who may now update their devices' firmware. D-Link, for one, has already posted the update as a free download on its website. ®

Related Stories

Broadcom blames Atheros for bad WLAN performance
Tests confirm Atheros' Super G degrades rival WLANs

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.