802.11n Draft 2.0 testing begins; gear soon

The upcoming 802.11n wireless standard will offer better throughput and faster speeds. The first certified products should be available before the end of summer

The Wi-Fi Alliance has started testing 802.11n Draft 2.0 products in a bid to ensure interoperability across various manufacturers and sellers before the faster wireless networking products go on sale.

The move means that 'Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n draft 2.0' routers, clients, and other networking gear should be available before September.

Products that receive the stamp must do three things. They must interoperate with devices from other vendors, use WPA2 for security and be backwards-compatible with all 802.11a/b/g products.

Multimedia features

All certified products will contain the Wi-Fi Multimedia quality of service for video streaming. This will allow routers to automatically detect most kinds of multimedia traffic. And it'll ensure that they get enough bandwidth to stream without any problems.

The cross-platform certification won't guarantee total compatibility. But it should iron out any major issues of interconnecting 802.11 draft devices. The goal is to give users confidence that the bits they buy from different vendors will work together, and won't soon be obsolete, the Wi-Fi Alliance said.

Both Draft 2.0 and the final standard are intended to run at more than 100Mbps, faster than many wired Ethernet connections. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, the products now being certified can deliver as much as five times the throughput and twice the range of earlier Wi-Fi gear.

The final IEEE spec of 802.11n isn't due until September 2008. Draft 2.0 is expected to work with the final version.