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Continue to avoid Wireless N products.

October 10th, 2007 · No Comments

Even though wireless products have been around for years, I still do not have much faith in them on the business level. Many individuals and homeowners have benefited by not needing to run cables in their apartments or homes, however video and large file transfers and remote sharing are still troublesome at best.

Introduce Wireless N, the standard that was supposed to solve all that. In June this year the Draft 2 versions were released. Well, that just sucks! Let me give you a brief overview of the Wireless N fiasco.

Before the Christmas rush of 2004, “Pre-N” products were released. Almost three years later the final version still has not been ratified. As a matter of fact the 2nd “Draft” of the “standard” was not ratified (approved) until June of this year.

Big box retail electronic stores have pushed the Wireless N products off and on over this timeframe but compatibility between different manufactures (and even within some manufacturer’s products) is just terrible. Even during the CES (Consumers Electronics Show) this past January, announcements on products were canceled and this is THE industry trade show of the year.

The benefits of the “N” standard are that it is supposed to run 270 Mb/s (540 Mb/s using Multiple In / Multiple Out signals) compared to the “G” standard of 54 Mb/s and as with everything else, that is under perfect circumstances. Another benefit is that is supposedly will be able to operate in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bandwidths helping to eliminate the interference issues with “G” products and cordless phones, microwaves and the such.

My suggestion is stick with “G” for a while longer and if you are going to add a new wireless network go with the less crowded and less interference version, the “A” standard.

Wi-Fi.org, the ones responsible for certifying “N” standards have this to say.

The certification tests products based on a draft of the IEEE 802.11n standard (“draft 2.0”), and the program will be updated when that standard is fully ratified by IEEE, expected in late 2008 or early 2009. Because the industry has been very eager to bring advanced Wi-Fi technology to market, there are numerous “pre-n” products currently available. However, consumers should be aware that only Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 802.11n draft 2.0 products have been tested for interoperability, standards-based security protections, and backward compatibility with 802.11a, b, and g networks.

http://www.wi-fi.org/whitepaper_80211n_draft2.php

Excuse me, LATE 2008 OR EARLY 2009. In the time it has taken to create this standard the “B” and then “G” products were in full maturity. Also, scattered in numerous articles on their web site (www.wi-fi.org) they still suggest that the N standard is going to be ratified by “early 2007”, someone needs to update their site!

Until the squabbling of who owns what and who get what royalties is worked out I strongly urge you not to purchase any Wireless N products.

Tags: Hardware · Purchasing · Soap Box

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