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The Arrival Of Draft 802.11n Wireless Products

Finalization of the 802.11n wireless standard won’t happen until next year, but products based on the draft of the faster standard have begun to arrive.

This week, Cisco subsidiary Linksys, Irvine, Calif., introduced a family of six products based on the draft of the 802.11n standard, which was adopted by the IEEE on Jan. 19. Access points, wireless gateways and both single- and dual-band routers are part of the new offerings from Linksys—such as the dual-band WRT600n router, which delivers faster data rates and a wider wireless coverage area and starts at about $199, said Malachy Moynihan, vice president of engineering and product marketing.

The 802.11n standard is supposed to use multiple antenna and radio configurations to achieve data streaming rates ranging from 75 Mbps to 600 Mbps, Moynihan said. The n standard is backward compatible to former a-, b- and g-standard products, and has a range three times that of g-standard equipment, he said.

All of Linksys’ new draft-n products outperform g-standard products in a very significant way, Moynihan said. But there is a caveat, he added.

“We can not guarantee that the early draft standard products will be upgradeable to the final standard that will probably be ratified sometime next year. But there will be a lot of draft-n products that will operate at speeds way higher than g performance, even if they do not fully conform to the n-standard,” Moynihan said.

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