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Slow down there Nelly!

In response to the current supposition that the newly christened 802.11g specification scales back throughput to maintain compatibility with 802.11b devices, Robert G. Moskowitz offers the following advice to those interested in 802.11g.

Why are people so paranoid of standards bodies? I suppose it stems from the detailed language that is necessary to the implementation of standards that actually work. Anyone involved in standards work gets wrapped up in techo-speak. As a result, it is really hard to reduce today's standards efforts to "25 words or less."

The notion of a "less-than" 802.11g may cause many readers to wonder what 802.11g is worth if it is throttled down to 802.11b speeds for backward compatibility. Under what conditions is it throttled back should be the question asked, but this rarely happens. Instead, users tend to say: "I already invested money in this stuff and now what for? A bit better range?" Oh, give me a break!

Follow the advice of Dave Ross ( and read the news slowly. What throttling data rates really means is that 802.11g CAN go faster, but vendors are stopping it from doing so to preserve backward compatibility. So, if there is nothing to be backward compatible with, there is no throttle.

802.11g APs (access points) are designed to support both 802.11g and 802.11b remote devices (stations, in standards speak). When a station connects to an 802.11g AP, it identifies itself either as an 11b or an 11g device and identifies the maximum speed it is configured to provide. As long as only 11g stations are connected to the AP, the stations will communicate as fast as the environment allows (based on signal strength and other environmental factors). Once "one" 11b station connects to the AP, however, the AP throttles all 11g stations back to let the 11b station play.

When the 11b station disconnects from the AP, the AP will remove the throttle. Unfortunately, stations rarely disconnect. They just go away, and the AP has to figure out that the station is really gone.

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