Monday, July 31, 2006

Daft N: why it's "daft", not "draft"

I don't have much to add to the Draft N controversy. Apart from anything else, Glenn Fleishman's said it all. It's too early to buy these products, because the standard isn't ready.

By and large, the enterprise world has taken that line, and there's not a lot of people rushing Draft N into business-grade products. But we're all looking interestedly at the consumer products bear-pit.

Now that I've played with a couple of Draft N products, I'm surprised how disappointing I was, even given my low expectations. There have been tests that apparently show that Draft N actually performs worse than 802.11g or the mature proprietary exensions thereof, in real situations (ie over some distance).

I actually found the range performance not bad, but compatibility between supposed Draft N products was poor (here's my reviews of Netgear and D-Link products).

What's put it even more into perspective for me, though, is the value proposition. These products cost substantially more than the plain 802.11g routers that they supposedly outperform by a huge margin - but not in any way that makes a big difference to anyone at the moment.

What could you do if you spent that money on something people really wanted? I just reviewed a product for Techworld that gave me an idea of that. For roughly the same price as a Netgear Draft N router, you could get an 802.11g router, with a built in three-line VIP PBX. And some very nifty features in the DSL and WLAN parts of the product.

I'll link to the review when it's live tomorrow.


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