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Wi-Fi Alliance on Monday said its members had begun to test products compliant with yet another draft specification of next-generation 802.11n wireless networking technology. It still remains unclear when the final version of the spec is set to become available, but more and more hardware manufacturers already deploy the technology.

The 802.11n standard promises to increase transfer speed of wireless networks to about 600Mb/s while maintaining compatibility with currently deployed 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi networks. There were two groups that proposed 802.11n standards to IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers): World-Wide Spectrum Efficiency (WWiSE) group and Enhanced Wireless Consortium (EWC) which standards were not completely compatible between each other. Last year IEEE approved EWC-proposed 802.11n draft standard effectively splitting the developers of the 802.11n into two camps, one of which can start making equipment now and another should wait till the final standard approval.

Earlier several observers warned end-users and enterprises about potential mess with different Wi-Fi 802.11n standards and the lack of interoperability between different equipment, which is particularly important for large corporations. This time Wi-Fi alliance addresses enterprises and advices them to jump on the 802.11n bandwagon as well, as Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n draft 2.0-compliant hardware is set to arrive to stores this summer.

According to statements made by the alliance, Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n draft 2.0 products have been tested for interoperability across vendors, adherence to WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) security protocols, and backward compatibility with more than 3,500 Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n a/b/g products

“Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n draft 2.0 Wi-Fi brings the digital home of the future to life today, and revolutionizes the capabilities of enterprise networking. It is the most important advance for Wi-Fi technology since its invention. With the launch of this certification program, the industry as a whole has come together to deliver the very best user experience – helping ensure that consumers and enterprises can purchase with confidence and make the most of advanced Wi-Fi technology today,” said Wi-Fi Alliance managing director Frank Hanzlik.

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