The recent WIRED article entitled “New Wi-Fi Standard Promises Blazing Fast Data Speeds” finally clears up a few of the unknowns of the 802.11n standard that has been in development for the last five years.
This technology will allow for increases in speed, range and number of simultaneous users on a network. Wireless N, as it is mostly commonly called is also backward compatible; meaning that a new 802.11n router will still support connections from devices using the older 802.11b and 802.11g chipsets.
Even though wireless n devices have been available to consumers for some time, they have been based on the draft of the N standard. The September release of the finalized standard by the IEEE, brings with it some interesting modifications to the draft, which the current products are based on. These improvements include: the addition of a extra send and receive channel, increasing both the range (to approx. 4000 square feet) and throughput by an additional 33 percent.
These improvements will benefit both the home wireless network user and the hotspot provider, allowing for greater coverage, higher speed and better concurrency. Unfortunately depending on the Internet gateway services available, end users may not receive the full benefit of the equipment improvements because the service itself is not capable of supporting it. This could mean slow adoption rates for hotspot providers like us at Vex.
Once the ISPs can support the technology, browsing and downloading content will become a significantly better experience. This is one of the first instances where wireless technology has outpaced the wired service (internet gateway) and will lead to innovations and lower bandwidth costs in the ISP market.