IEEE Ratifies Amendment to 802.11n-2009 Wireless LAN Specification

The IEEE announced that its Standards Board has ratified the IEEE 802.11n[tm]-2009 amendment, defining mechanisms that provide significantly improved data rates and ranges for wireless local area networks (WLANs). This new amendment to the IEEE 802.11 base standard is designed to help the data communications industry address the escalating demands placed on enterprise, home and public WLANs with the rise of higher-bandwidth file transfers and next-generation multimedia applications. WLANs based on IEEE 802.11 are widely deployed, with more than 1 million units shipping per day.

The IEEE 802.11 standard defines how to design interoperable WLAN equipment that provides a variety of capabilities including a wide range of data rates, quality of service, reliability, range optimization, device link options, network management and security.

The 560-page 802.11n amendment—“…WLAN Enhancements for Higher Throughput”1—will enable rollout of significantly more scalable WLANs that deliver 10-fold-greater data rates than previously defined while ensuring co-existence with legacy systems and security implementations.

More than 400 individuals from equipment and silicon suppliers, service providers, systems integrators, consultant organizations and academic institutions from more than 20 countries participated in a seven-year effort leading to IEEE 802.11n’s ratification. Publication of the amendment is scheduled for mid-October.

“This was an extraordinarily wide-ranging technical challenge that required the sustained effort and concentration of a terrific variety of participants. When we started in 2002, many of the technologies addressed in 802.11n were university research topics and had not been implemented,” said Bruce Kraemer, Chair of the IEEE Wireless LAN Working Group. “The performance improvements achieved via IEEE 802.11n stand to transform the WLAN user experience, and ratification of the amendment sets the stage for a new wave of application innovation and creation of new market opportunities.”

Added Paul Nikolich, IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee Chairman: “Everyone involved in the 802.11n process—and no one more than Bruce Kraemer, whose strong leadership has been instrumental from the start—deserves congratulations because this is a key data communications milestone and a good example of the consensus building environment 802 provides for its participants. The amendment will enable a dramatic leap forward in WLAN scalability with only a modest associated rise in costs for the industry and end users.”

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About IEEE 802
The IEEE 802® LAN/MAN Standards Committee develops LAN and metropolitan area network (MAN) standards. The most widely used standards are for the Ethernet family, Token Ring, Wireless LAN, Wireless PAN, Wireless MAN, Bridging and Virtual Bridged LANs. An individual working group provides the focus for each area. Decisions by the IEEE 802 task groups and working groups will shape communications for years to come. For more information about the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee, see grouper.ieee.org/groups/802/.

About the IEEE Standards Association
The IEEE Standards Association, a globally recognized standards-setting body, develops consensus standards through an open process that engages industry and brings together a broad stakeholder community. IEEE standards set specifications and best practices based on current scientific and technological knowledge. The IEEE-SA has a portfolio of over 900 active standards and more than 400 standards under development. For information on the IEEE-SA, see: standards.ieee.org.

About the IEEE
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.), the world’s largest technical professional society, is commemorating its 125th anniversary in 2009 by “Celebrating 125 Years of Engineering the Future” around the globe. Through its more than 375,000 members in 160 countries, IEEE is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Dedicated to the advancement of technology, IEEE publishes 30 percent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, and has developed over 900 active industry standards. The organization annually sponsors more than 850 conferences worldwide. Additional information about IEEE can be found at www.ieee.org.

1 Full title: “Information Technology—Telecommunications and information exchange between systems—Local and metropolitan area networks—Specific requirements Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) specifications Amendment 5: Enhancements for Higher Throughput-2009”