Next Gen of Wi-Fi Planned for Summer
The next generation of wireless Internet products certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance
is expected to hit shelves this summer, even though a final standard for the
technology isn't due for another year, the industry group says.
The Wi-Fi Alliance was announcing Wednesday that it will begin certifying wireless
routers, networking cards, microchips and other so-called "Draft N"
products in June. The products, which take their name from the upcoming 802.11n
technical standard, are expected to reach retail stores shortly thereafter.
Wi-Fi comes in several flavors -- "b," "a," "g,"
and soon "n" -- referring to the subsection of the technical guidelines
issued by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a technical
The "n" version is expected to be about five times faster than the
widely used "g" variety, though in practice, speeds rarely reach what's
listed on the box. Draft N products are said to offer better reach through walls
and into dead spots and will use multiple radios to send and receive data, making
them better at handling big video files.
Gear rated to handle n-level wireless already is being sold. But the Wi-Fi
Alliance said certified Draft N items from different vendors are guaranteed
to work together and to work with older certified Wi-Fi products.
Karen Hanley, senior director of marketing for the Austin, Texas-based industry
group, said the wireless industry shipped 200 million Wi-Fi products last year
worldwide. Over the next few years, the category will expand from mostly laptops
and access points to Wi-Fi enabled cell phones, televisions and video games.
Hanley said the final 802.11n standard isn't expected until 2009.