Monday, August 28, 2006

802.11n rumours

I'm hearing rumours that there may be some kind of 802.11n progress in the next day or so. Nothing definite, but I've heard it's progress, rather than another "delay" (which is how most routine steps in the IEEE voting procedure tend to get mis-reported).

Meanwhle, what else is going on? The accepted wisdom is that MIMO is only for consumers right now, till the 802.11n standard is complete. That's certainly born out by Atheros' approach: the company is cutting the number of radios to make MIMO cheaper, so it's draft-n products will be even more attractive to consumers at Christmas. This confirms what everyone's saying - and what I (and everyone else) found in reviews of draft-n kit.

Despite all this, there is one company out there selling MIMO products aimed at the enterprise. Blusocket launched a MIMO access point earlier this year. We haven't yet reviewed it, and Bluesocket's market tends to be a bit niche-y, but they're getting some good coverage from one customer, Smart City Networks, that does the wireless networks for a bunch of US convention centres (or should that be centers?).

Unstrung reports that Smart City is using the Bluesocket MIMO kit for convention centres in Las Vegas and elsewhere - along with some background about how demanding that sort of environment is, indicating what a good test it will be of the MIMO performance.

It brings back the atmosphere of a few years ago, when Wi-Fi itself was emerging. Show nets were a good way to promote Wi-Fi, in an environment where there might be some users ready and willing to try it out. These networks were usually subsidised by the vendors, and often failed.

Now, show Wi-Fi is promoring the new-wave of Wi-Fi. Connection is more of an essential item now, so there's less of shopfront aspect, though I expect there's an element of subsidy here.

The picture of CES at Vegas is from Paul Thurtt's WinSupersite.


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12:17 PM  

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