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802.11n Delay = Death of Wi-Fi?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 15, 2006

Ratification of the long-expected 802.11n Wi-Fi standard has just been pushed back from 2007 to 2008. Is this a big deal?

I would argue it is. The 802.11n technology will allow for ultra-fast wireless video transmission. Essentially, it’s a way for Wi-Fi to compete with emerging wireless broadband technologies like WiMax, which will be rolled out nationwide by companies like Sprint Nextel in the next few years. When technologies like WiMax are rolled out, current versions of Wi-Fi will seem like dial-up to their DSL. And that’s unlikely to endear the technology to businesses or consumers.

By the time 802.11n arrives in 2008, it might be too little too late. By then, it might be displaced by other technologies, like WiMax. Do you agree?

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Reader Comments


August 15, 2006 01:39 PM

Wimax is an alternative to EVDO, Cable and DSL. This provides the link to the outside world (wan side). WiFi is the local network. Wimax would connect to the internet and use Wifi to distribute the signal to all of the various local appliances. I am not sure it would make economical sense to have a seperate Wimax connection to every device in the household.


August 15, 2006 02:36 PM

Wimax when do u think this will arrive ?


August 16, 2006 04:40 PM

The notion that this delay will cause the death of wifi is absurd. WIFI, a LAN technology, has never been intended to be used as a WAN technology like Cable, DSL or WIMAX. In theory WIMAX could be used to provide coverage to every node in a given LAN, but there are many hurdles to overcome to do this including the rollout of widespread WIMAX networks(there was a test network on a short stretch of railroad tracks in Palo Alto recently,) and the cost of either upgrading or integrating with the installed base of WiFi nodes. Think of all the wifi nodes currently installed in a home..laptops, desktops, media adapters, game adapters, etc...With current wifi volumes in the millions and Wimax volume in infancy, Wimax has a long way to go to make this happen.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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