IEEE Vote On Next-Gen Wi-Fi Is Inconclusive

Compromise is now required after the TGnSync proposal for the next generation of Wi-Fi won a narrow majority of the IEEE panel's vote but fell short of the required 75%.

March 18, 2005

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The IEEE Thursday tried to decide which of two primary proposals for the 802.11n specification it would embrace, but the results fell short of being conclusive.

In a meeting in Atlanta, 180 voters, or 56 percent, supported the so-called Task Group N (TGnSync) proposal compared to 44 percent for the WWiSE (World-Wide Spectrum Efficiency) proposal. If one of the proposals had achieved 75 percent of the voter, it would have served as the basis for the 802.11n specification moving forward.

Both proposals would bring wireless LANs up to and potentially beyond the 100 Mbps speeds of Ethernet LANs. Both also use Multiple Input/Multiple Output (MIMO) antenna technology, although they differ in their specific implementations.

The TGnSync group has the support of vendors including Intel and, more recently, Qualcomm, while the WWiSE proposal's supporters include Motorola, Nokia, Texas Instruments and Japan's NTT.

A spokesperson for one of the WWiSE members, Airgo, which has already developed pre-standard 802.11n MIMO technology used by several WLAN vendors, said in a statement that the next step is harmonize the two proposals and that the two groups will hold discussions to that end. Another vote on the harmonized proposal could be held as soon as May, according to the spokesperson.In recent weeks as Qualcomm and Motorola abandoned their proposals and joined forces with one or the other of the two major remaining proposals. However, most observers have said they don't expect final adoption of the 802.11n standard for at least another year.

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