A senior Netgear representative has said there is “no longer a problem around interoperability” with 11n wireless networking. 802.11n may only have reached its second draft, but wireless vendors are now convinced it's time for 11n to make it onto prime time.

TechRadar recently met with Netgear's global head of product marketing, Vivek Pathela. “You have every company now feeling comfortable that multi-vendor interoperability is guaranteed," said Pathela. "Even Cisco, the big company that is conservative about business clients, they’re now saying hey, this is already the de facto [standard].”

“You have compliance, you can ensure different vendors products can interoperate with one another.”

More players involved

Pathela said that the delays caused to 802.11n were due to the larger number of players involved compared to the ratification of earlier standards such as 802.11n. “You know, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) getting the technology ratified and getting the technology as a de facto standard are like two different stages,” explained Pathela, who we last saw up on stage at CES in Las Vegas.

“We got whole new industries participating on the specification for the standard and that was the consumer electronics industry as well as the mobile phone industry. Before it was just the networking industry, people like us.”

“Nw we have so many more people that from the processing of the paperwork …is taking a whole lot longer.”

Ratification next year?

Pathela went on to discuss further iterations of the 802.11n standard and hinted that he expected ratification for 2009. “The ratified version would possibly be [draft] version 3 or maybe 4, but at this point there’s nothing in hardware that needs to change.” Pathela confirmed that any future updates to the 11n specification would be via firmware or software drivers.

When quizzed about possible interoperability issues between different 11n specifications, Pathela said that he expected a simple solution. “I suspect that draft 2.0 is always going to be enabled. These [future] changes are very minor, they really don’t have [much impact]. 11n never had to change hardware to go as far as we are now.”