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An consortium of semiconductor and consumer electronics companies, WWiSE, have proposed a new standard for wireless local area networks seeking to considerably improve the speed of transfer while maintaining compatibility with today’s WLAN equipment.

The WWiSE proposal builds on the existing and globally adopted 20MHz channel format of the tens of millions of Wi-Fi devices already in use. This approach ensures support for the existing worldwide installed base, while improving the performance of Wi-Fi networks within the designated RF spectrum. Further, the coalition companies represent an important cross-section of both the IC supply and consumption segments that comprise the Wi-Fi marketplace, promoting a strong relationship between developers and end-product manufacturers.

Key features of the proposed 802.11n standard include:

  • Mandatory use of the approved, pre-existing, worldwide 20MHz Wi-Fi channel width, assuring immediate applicability and deployment in all regulatory jurisdictions.
  • Enhanced MIMO-OFDM technology is key to achieving a maximum data rate of 135Mbps in the minimum mandatory 2x2 configuration and a single 20MHz channel to keep implementation costs low, while greatly improving upon simple antenna additions or channel bonding schemes.
  • Rates up to 540Mbps, accomplished with a 4x4 MIMO structure and 40MHz channel width (where permissible by regulatory bodies), provide a roadmap for future devices and applications.
  • Mandatory modes affording backwards compatibility and interoperability with existing Wi-Fi devices in the 5.0GHz and 2.40GHz bands to ensure strong support of legacy deployments.
  • Advanced forward-error-correction coding option to facilitate maximum coverage and range, applicable in all MIMO configurations and channel bandwidths.

Companies within the WWiSE consortium that contributed to the proposal are Airgo Networks, Bermai, Broadcom, Conexant Systems, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments.

The consortium offers a royalty-free license option from the WWiSE companies to those who wish to produce appropriate 802.11n equipment.

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