Reconciliation of 802.11n proposals may be near

The IEEE 802.11n task group has failed yet again to bridge the differences between the two rival proposals for the standard -- one advanced by the WWISE group, the other by the TGn Sync coalition. This time, however, a subtle change in the pattern of the voting may encourage the two camps to search for a compromise, something they will try to do as they meet next week to dicuss the future of the effort to reach an agreed-upon 802.11n proposal. TGn Sync uses 40 MHz channels instead of the 20 MHZ channels, which are the global standard, and the two standards use a different number of antennas. TGn also uses the 5 GHz spectrum instead of the 2.4 GHz band used by WWISE.

The change, observers note, is a shift in support toward the WWISE proposal -- not exactly a gorund swell, but a distinct shift. Both proposals are still short of the 75 percent required for adoption, but in the last round of voting support for the Intel-backed TGn Sync proposal fell from 57 percent to under 50 percent. The shift away from TGn Sync toward the Airgo-led WWISE may well reflect the fact that Airgo has a considerable lead in the pre-802.11n market. Both propsals are based on MIMO technology, but Airgo says that its version of MIMO-based 802.11n now accounts for about 3 percent of the WiFi consumer products market.

For more on state of 802.11n:
- see Peter Judge's Techworld report

PLUS: The market for MIMO silicon may get more crowded as Israeli company Metalink showed a single-chip real MIMO RF system. The chip uses the 5 GHz band, is backward compatible with 802.11a, and can work with WiFi silicon from other vendors. Metalink says it will support any 802.11n standard which the IEEE will agree on. Website

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