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IEEE finally approves 802.11n

In your own time, guys

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The latest version of Wi-Fi, 802.11n, received formal certification on Friday, despite the fact that more than 700 products have already been certified as compatible by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Never let it be said that the IEEE hurries things: more than two years after the first 802.11n products (conforming to an early draft of the standard) came out the standards body has finally ratified the specification - which should give confidence to enterprises looking at the technology even if everyone is already using it at home.

In addition to the early draft-compliant devices we have Wi-Fi-Alliance-certified devices that conform to a later draft and are allowed to carry the "Wi-Fi" logo. The Alliance reckons it's certified more than 700 devices, all of which should (thankfully) be seamlessly compatible with devices conforming to the final specification.

This compatibility is achieved thanks to the last details of the specification all being options in the draft, so draft devices should connect seamless with their properly-compliant siblings.

But Enterprises have been reluctant to deploy 802.11n until the standard was formally approved: only 15 per cent of the devices approved under the draft version are aimed at enterprise users, compared to 30 per cent which were home-networking products - the rest being laptop computers (45 per cent) and other bits of consumer electronics.

IEEE approval will mean 802.11n appearing in more offices, but the length of time it's taken to get the standard approved reflects badly on the IEEE and its ability to react with a speed commensurate with the rest of the industry. ®

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