Industry hopes for the ratification of an 802.11n standard this year may be damaged by an apparent effort by large chipmakers to offer a third proposal for the standard, according to an ABI Research report.

Two industry groups, WwiSE and TGn Sync, have battled over the specifications of the 802.11n standard, which promises to provide data rates in excess of 100 Mb/s. Encouraging news from IEEE in July indicated that the two groups were close to developing a consensus proposal that would receive the 75% vote necessary to be approved as a standard.

However, four major chipmakers — Broadcom, Intel, Atheros and Marvell — allegedly have joined forces with the notion of submitting a new 802.11n standards proposal, said Philip Solis, an ABI Research senior analyst who covers Wi-Fi semiconductors. An alternative proposal from this powerful group could delay the ratification of a standard until at least mid-2007, he said.

“Not much is known about what is going on right now,” Solis said. “They're keep it pretty close to the vest.”