802.11n compromise in sight

In what may well be a significant breakthrough for 802.11n, the leaders of the two groups advancing competing proposals for the standard's sepcifications have agreed to submit a joint proposal at the next meeting of the working group tasked with elaborating the standard. The meeting will be held in two weeks. In the March meeting of the task group, one of the leading contenders, TGn Sync, won a simple majority over rival WWiSE but fell short of the 75 percent majority required to carry the day. In the May meeting, however, TGn Sync's vote fell to below 50 percent.

Not surpirisingly, Dave Borison of pro-WWiSE Airgo said of the May vote, "The IEEE 802.11n ballot was a good result... It's a wake-up call for both camps. We want to move forward and get a standard in place. Within the next quarter, or two at the most, we will have a compromise." Airgo is the leader in MIMO chipsets, and MIMO technology is central to both proposals. Borison belives that the two proposals could be reconciled quite easily, although some differences may have to be handled as options within the standard. TGn Sync uses 40MHz channels instead of the 20MHz channels, which are the global standard. Each standard also uses different numbers of antennas, and TGn operates in the 5GHz spectrum rather than the 2.4GHz band which WWiSE supporters use.

TGn Sync is led by Agere, Intel, and Atheros; supporters of WWiSE include Conexant, Broadcom, Airgo, and Texas Instruments.

For more on a likely 802.11n compromise:
- see Matthew Broersma's Techworld's report
- check out this Unstrung report

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