Last September, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formalized a set of technical rules for the use of unused broadcast spectrum between TV frequencies (also known as “white space”), paving the way for what is being dubbed Super Wi-Fi. However, one final formality still remained: the finalization of the new wireless standard.
If you're looking for relaxation, nothing beats living in the country. Even Steve Ballmer would chill out and unwind after spending a lazy day in the shade of a tree with nary a neighbor to be seen. Of course, rural living has a couple of downsides, too, not the least of which is poor broadband penetration. The IEEE wants to tackle that problem. Today, the group announced the publication of the 802.22 WiFi standard, which usurps the "white space" in analog TV frequencies to deliver high speeds over long ranges.
It doesn't matter that major carriers will start introducing LTE in 2011, the WiMax forum is forging ahead with the WiMax 2 standard, which it hopes to have finalized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) this November.
WiMax 2, or 802.16m as it's otherwise known, will run circles around the original WiMax. The goal, according to WiMax Forum VP Mohammad Shakouri, is for the 802.16m to deliver average downstream speeds of over 100Mb/s. Compare that to Sprint's initial Xohm WiMax service, which debuted in 2008 with downstream speeds between 3.7Mb/s to 5Mb/s.
So where does this leave Clearwire, which recently announced it would begin trying out LTE as a compliment or alternative to its current WiMax network?
"We don't think it would be detrimental if Clearwire decided to run both WiMax and LTE," says Declan Byrne, the marketing director for the WiMax Forum industry group, who was admittedly "surprised" by Clearwire's LTE announcement. "In some ways it might be postive for both WiMax and LTE because it would take some of the sting out of the 'either-or' dynamic that a lot of people have been setting up when talking about the two technologies."
Byrne said he expects the IEEE will begin certifying WiMax 2 devices through 2011, with ISPs deploying the standard commercially throughout 2012.
In what will eventually result in higher speed Ethernet server connectivity and core switching products, the IEEE finally ratified the IEEE 802.3ba standard late last week.
"We made changes up until March," said John D'Ambrosia, chair of the IEEE 802.3ba Task Force. "[Compliance] is up to those [vendors] and where their products were up to that point."
D'Ambrosia's referring to the fact that some vendors, like Cisco, have already been trialing 100G Ethernet products for months. According to D'Ambrosia, these vendors are "taking a risk."
In addition to addressing increasing bandwidth needs, the 802.3ba standard is also expected to push the adoption of 10G Ethernet. Pricing, however, could be a sticking point, with some companies charging $1,000 per port for 40G Ethernet switching modules.
There's a war brewing behind the scenes, one which involves Cisco, HP, and other major players. What are they fighting over? Control of data centers. But despite this battle, those same companies are working together to try and push through new Ethernet standards.
The reason for this is because those standards could make life a lot easier for all involved, especially when it comes to managing virtualized IT data centers. These types of issues are exactly what the IEEE 802.1Qbg and 802.1Qbh specifications are designed to overcome. Put simply, these standards would greatly ease the burden of policy, security, and management processing from virtual switches on NICs and blade servers, putting them back onto physical Ethernet switches.
"There needed to be a way to communicate between the hypervisor and the network," says Jon Oltsik, an analyst at Enterprise Systems Group. "When you start thinking about the complexities associated with running dozens of VMs on a physical server the sophistication of data center switching has to be there."
The downside to this is that by adding this element to the hypervisor, there would be a drastic rise in the amount of network processing overhead to the server, Oltisk warns.
After years of seeing draft-n wireless products, the IEEE finally ratified the standard this summer. Now the Wi-Fi Alliance has created a new certification program complete with new logos. "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n builds on the success of our draft-n certification program and marks a point of maturity in 802.11n technology," said Edgar Figueroa, Executive Director of The Wi-Fi Alliance.
The new Wi-Fi certification program includes all the requirements from the draft standard, with some additional optional features. The optional features include support for transmission of up to three spatial streams, STBC encoding to increase reliability, A-MPDU packet aggregation, and channel coexistence for the 40MHz operation in the 2.4GHz band.
The new, longer logo shows all the standards that a device supports. The new certification program also allows products to indicate if they support optional features. The new logos should even show up on devices that were previously draft-n, as many were certified for the full standard.
After a long seven years of development and tweaking, the IEEE has finally approved the 802.11n high-throughput wireless LAN standard.
The new standard, which is reportedly capable of throughput of 300Mbps, has been changed six times since its first conception. And, according to the IEEE, all existing WiFi certified 802.11 Draft N wireless products will work with the final standard.
No word as to when the standard will make its way to market.
The IEEE standards group has finally ratified 802.11n, a standard that has been stuck in limbo since 2006 when it first entered draft status. Draft N devices delivered on the promise of higher speeds and better range, but despite assurances, many feared compatibility would be an issue down the road.
The extended delay in approving the standard came from competing “pre-N” technologies from Atheros and Broadcom, which led to a long and drawn out debate over the form of the final spec. The delay led the IEEE to certify Draft 2.0 802.11n devices in March 2007, with the understanding that these would be upgradable through firmware to the final standard. To accomplish this, a promise was made to make no major changes to the spec, or the certification process.
802.11n has seen a high level of adoption within consumer electronics and networking equipment, but companies are typically slow to adopt anything bearing the title “draft”. Keep an eye out for new firmware and drivers for your 802.11n hardware in the days and weeks to come. Officials from the IEEE plan to publish the final standard sometime in mid-October. I guess the time has finally come to look forward to the next big leap in Wi-Fi speeds. I wonder how many letters of the alphabet they plan to skip this time?
Have you been waiting for the Wi-Fi Alliances blessing to buy new hardware?
Researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technology University (NTU) and Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) have developed a low-temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) antenna for use in the unlicensed 57 - 64 GHz millimeter-wave bands. The development has paved the way for instantaneous wireless USB file transfers. It has the potential to replace Bluetooth as the preferred technology for nearby remote data exchanges.
SIMTech’s AIP (antenna in package) is not only economical but also practical per se. IEEE (Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, Inc.) is busy devising standards for applications for the unlicensed 60 GHz band.
From today's best laptops to the new eee Box, 802.11n is today's hottest wireless network standard. It's rapidly replacing older 802.11g networks on store shelves, but there are actually two distinct versions of the "almost ready for prime time" standard. Find out how to tell them apart, and what their advantages are.