Wi-fi is a wireless data networking protocol, which allows for PCs and laptops to access the internet, within a given area or "hotspot", via a high frequency wireless local area network (WLAN). The term Wi-Fi was coined by the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) as another name for IEEE 802.11b networking standard. WECA is still involved in certifying new wireless modems in order to verify that they are fully compatible with the standard.

802.11n Proposal Confirmed; Broadcom, Marvell Have Chips

By Glenn Fleishman

Word just in that the 802.11n proposal was confirmed: The IEEE task group on high-throughput wireless local area networking has confirmed the joint proposal group draft which itself came out of the Enhanced Wireless Consortium. Now 802.11n will move forward relatively rapidly to ratification, even though that formal process of finalizing details could take until 2007. That won’t delay shipping products at this point.

Broadcom meanwhile announced that what it’s dubbed its Intensi-fi chips are now available in sampling and incorporated in reference designs for manufacturers and support all mandatory draft 802.11n specifications. The chips will also support any changes in the spec through ratification via software updates. The chips will support over 300 Mbps of throughput.

Later yesterday, Marvell chimed in that they, too, have chips ready to go with early 802.11n compliance. They are predicting products from their partners this quarter, and they say their chipsets can operate using optional parts of the standard at speeds up to 600 Mbps.

On Monday, Atheros added its chip announcement to the fray, noting 150 to 180 Mbps of real end-user throughput from a 300 Mbps system. Their system is called Xspan. They’re also offering a 600 Mbps flavor.

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