IEEE members who create WLAN standards are ready to launch work on the next-generation of the technology, one that would give WiFi gigabit data transmission speeds. The technology is expected to be called Very High Throughput (VHT).
While at a meeting in Hawaii last week, a study group involved in creating WLAN standards began finalizing a proposal that will call for the 802.11 Working Group, which oversees all WLAN standards, to create a new committee to craft the envisioned VHT standard. The group is considering using two frequency bands for VHT: the 60 GHz band for short-range usage scenarios, and the 6 GHz band for use when longer ranges, similar to those provided by today's WiFi networks, are desired. The VHT will be backward compatible with existing 802.11 standards.
Participants have their eyes set on completing the standard within about four years, but standards development processes often take unexpected twists and turns that can affect time-to-market and even change the envisioned operational and performance characteristics of the new technology. The most recent standard, 802.11n, has been in development for four years and its finalization is now not expected until late 2009, though many vendors are already shipping products based on the technology. 802.11n provides real world data speeds of about 130 to 150 Mbps and peak speeds of about 170 Mbps.
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