Consortium changes 802.11n landscape again
In yet another twist in the saga surrounding efforts to establish a next-generation 802.11 standard, a previously reported splinter group this week announced that it has the support of most key players in the industry.
The Enhanced Wireless Consortium (EWC) announced Monday that it includes 27 Wi-Fi industry leaders, including Intel, Cisco Systems, Linksys, Broadcom, Marvell and Atheros. EWC officials indicated that the purpose of the consortium is to accelerate the adoption of an IEEE-approved standard for 802.11n, which is expected to deliver throughputs capable of transferring high-definition video while improving battery life and range.
Work on the 802.11n standard had been slowed by disagreements between two factions—TGn Sync and WWiSE—when reports surfaced that a third group led by four established Wi-Fi chipmakers would make their own proposal.
The fact that this group, the EWC, has so much support could mean that manufacturers will be comfortable building “pre-802.11n” products immediately that would be ready for the commercial market late next year—sooner than previously expected, according to Philip Solis, ABI Research’s senior analyst for wireless connectivity.
However, Solis said the strength of the EWC does not mean that its proposal will be accepted by the IEEE as the 802.11n standard.
“The stalemate between TGn Sync and WWiSE may be transformed into a stalemate between the Joint Proposal and EWC groups. Companies have everything to gain or lose as far as market share with 802.11n—there is a lot on the line,” Solis said in a prepared statement. “In addition, 802.11n is required to better ramp up Wi-Fi in its newer market segments—especially in the consumer electronics market, where range and throughput are critical to proper functioning across the home. The Wi-Fi industry needs to move quickly to ensure its place as the dominant wireless technology for consumer electronics devices in the home.”