The major concerns about WiFi are security and interference-causing crowded airways. A new technology may well ease the latter anxiety. Scottsdale, Arizona-based Rotani says that its patented AirReferee technology (which the company emphasizes is not a MIMO technology) will allow performance similar to that offered by pre-802.11n/MIMO products already on the market. The technology is especially effective for video and does very well in dense environments in which high interference is a problem. "We're not extending range," says Roc Lastinger, the company's president and CTO. "If you want high bandwidth to work at home or the office, you compensate for the adjacent noise." And compensating for the adjacent noise is something more and more devices will have to do as the number of WiFi products sold continues to grows by leaps and bounds.
AirReferee includes dual antennas working with multiple radios. The antennas are standard, low-cost units, not the fancy phased arrays such as the ones Vivato or Video54 are using. "The reference design we have now has two antennas," says Lastinger. "With antenna coupling, two 11g radios together won't work -- it's only one b/g and one 11a. But today, we can do two 11g radios in one system without interference." The AirReferee software handles all that. The use of sandard, off-the-shelf antenas is one advantage; the second is the fact that the technology will work with WiFi chips from Broadcom, Atheros, and others.
What is more, by staying away from the transport layer, the AirReferee technology allows products using it to be backward compatible with 802.11a/b/g and with current and future 11n/MIMO products. OEMs with commercial designs will have AirReferee products available by October depending on the FCC and Wi-Fi Alliance certifications. The first targeted partners will be providers looking to offer wireless "triple play" (video, voice, data) in the home. In fact, he says, a version of AirReferee exists to handle multi-cast applications like video from a PC media center in a home.