802.11 INTERFERENCE STANDARDS

13. June 2007, 20:51 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

Products based on the upcoming 802.11n standard are in the pipeline as the Wi-Fi Alliance announced the first products certified to the standard and a new test suite for later in the summer. A question still unanswered is just how compatible these devices will be with legacy clients and how robust it will be as it is phased in.

A number of labs have done operating tests on 802.11 products with some unsettling results. Conflicts between vendor products and large unexpected variations in performance appeared among products from Meru, Cisco and Aruba. Complaints have been filed among vendors to the Alliance and various allegations and denials have followed.

Not only does performance vary with brand of access points but by the client chipset used (eg. Atheros, Broadcom, Intel, etc). The implications are alarming as they indicate that under heavy network use, and in the presence of co-channel interference, wi-fi products behave unpredictably.

While restricted use at enterprise level has so far limited these effects, as future wi-fi use becomes more pervasive, these problems will only become more critical. Standards testing it seems, needs to be much more rigorous and encompass more real world situations rather than a simple base-line laboratory scenario.

The bottom line is that if all these products are Wi-Fi certified, one has to wonder just exactly what that indicates.

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Categories: ,
Keywords: 802.11,interference,standards,wi-fi

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