The new standard is expected to be validated in June 2009 and will offer ground-breaking performance, speed and collateral security, but what exactly does this mean for business users and regular consumers?
In commercial environments the new 802.11n standard is very likely to increase the demand for wireless connectivity. 802.11n will also offer support to the 802.11e QoS standard, which ensures that dealing with multimedia traffic will be prioritised and applications such as wireless VoIP and video conferencing will have high and consistent levels of throughput without failure.
The improved throughput of the 802.11n is achieved by sending synchronised data at the same frequency, resulting in an increased performance rate five times as high compared to the previous 802.11 standards. This has been realised by cleverly combining different default techniques.
Firstly the use of multiple aerials improves the physical quality of the signals of the separate data streams. This so-called MIMO technology (multiple input, multiple output) is extremely suitable for disruptive, chaotic locations such as obscure interiors and busy urban areas. In this case, the signal reflections of the obstacles are being used by MIMO to gain extra band width. In combination with a higher MAC efficiency the larger 40 Mhz channel space also contributes to an increased throughput.
In theory, wireless LANs based on the 802.11n standard will offer a data speed of up to 248 Mbit/s. The extra band width gives users the opportunity to share a wireless connection without affecting performance rates, which means several PC's can be connected to the access point.
The 802.11n complies with earlier 802.11 standards, so users will have wireless access to the network via different Wi-Fi standards. The band width available however will be halved here as 802.11n equipment can only use one channel when it detects older Wi-Fi equipment.
The 802.11n uses 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz frequencies, which makes it a very useful dual band appliance. Web browsing and file sharing for example can be done via the 2.4-Hz link and media streaming via the 5 GHz link, resulting in an average data rate of 74 Mbps and a maximum data rate of 300 Mbps when using two streams.
Apart from higher performance levels the 802.11n also enables an improved broadcasting range, coverage area: reaching up to 70 meters inside and 250 meters outside – twice the distance that can be covered by a 802.11g.
In houses with only one LAN router, the 802.11n will limit the number of blind spots. Users can have more band width intensive applications as well as enjoy an improved IP speech quality. This is also why consumers will increasingly start using Wi-Fi products at home.
Thanks to higher performance rates, speed and collateral security of 802.11n, the future of wireless networking is a bright one.