802.11n Question

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by GhaladReam, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. GhaladReam

    GhaladReam Network Guru Member

    I have a question regarding Wireless-N. I understand that the spec hasn't been finalized yet, and it's currently in a draft state. Is the spec in the hardware or the software, or both? What I mean to say is, could a firmware update upgrade a Draft-N router (Such as the WRT300N or WRT350N, for example) to a Final-N product? Or would a new Final-N device have to be purchased?
  2. thepianobar

    thepianobar Network Guru Member

    That's the million dollar question isn't it. It could be either way. Perhaps someone with more indepth knowledge of the 802.11n ratification process could comment as well, but my guess is that at this point it is more likely to be software related than hardware.

    I just made the jump to 802.11n after holding out for quite some time for the following reasons:
    1) I wanted gigabit ethernet switchports and they were easiest to get on a 802.11n router (and I didn't want to buy a separate switch)
    2) Cisco recently released 802.11n access points that comply with the draft 2.0 spec, so my guess is that any changes from here on will be minor. However, Cisco is known for releasing their own version of a new technology early to beat others to the market with it and then later on moving to the "official" spec which is not always backwards compatible.
  3. GhaladReam

    GhaladReam Network Guru Member

    So, anyone know an official answer?
  4. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    thepianobar's explanation is the closest you will get. The N committee is under pressure from manufacturers to retain the hardware, thus make stuff firmware upgradable from Draft 1/Draft 2.0 to N. This is because just about all manufacturers have jumped on the Draft-N wagon. However, as with any new technology nobody has the answers beforehand, as nobody has been there yet.

    My "feeling" is we'll get N-1, which will be a software upgrade from Draft-X. Then we'll get N-n (or something like that) which may require different hardware to cater for even higher signalling rates (like 1Gb or so). I'm nobody however.....
  5. GhaladReam

    GhaladReam Network Guru Member

    Well, in that case, I'm going to wait until N-spec is finalized before I buy any N-enabled hardware.
  6. frenchy2k1

    frenchy2k1 LI Guru Member

    truth is, the specs are about signaling and coding and signal treatment. They are not about the hardware necessary to reach those.

    So, right now, you are assisting in a bargaining game. All competitors want the final specs to be as close to what their current draft hardware can do so that they can both claim upgradability and be the first to the market. Stakes are high for the manufacturers and they will battle to get this. As they all have their own implementation, this is a tough discussion.

    In the end, if you do not need a draft-N router now (for speed or coverage), I would advise to wait.
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