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First 802.11n Products Breaking Out 105

Posted by Zonk
from the new-protocols-sooo-exciting dept.
capt turnpike writes "If you're hooked up to a fat pipe, but want mobility, it looks like the new 802.11n standard might have some promise. eWEEK.com got their hands on some of the upcoming products and put the new devices through their paces." From the article: "The 802.11n task group is aware of the current draft's issues with legacy wireless LAN devices (specifically with how 802.11n shares bandwidth with attached legacy clients), and representatives from Cisco and Motorola broke off to look into the issues before the next meeting of the draft subcommittee, which is scheduled for May. Expectations vary widely, depending on whom you talk to. In previous conversations with Dave Borison, Airgo's director of product marketing, we leaned that Airgo is not making chip sets based on the draft standard because the company thinks the issue of legacy interoperability is significant enough to necessitate small modifications to the silicon."
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First 802.11n Products Breaking Out

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  • by crazyjeremy (857410) * on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:13PM (#15197490) Homepage Journal
    Will it let my friends come over with their motley of wireless devices (b & g & landline) and play a simple LAN game? If we can't all use it for one game and it's not backwards compatible... that's just wrong... WRONG! Seriously though, the article suggests to not purchase n devices with the hopes of upgrading to whatever standard is ratified later...

    From the article:

    We also found that Linksys' draft 802.11n router caused performance issues with legacy 802.11g networks.

    AND:

    The current draft of the 802.11n standard was approved for letter ballot in March; the full standard is expected to be ratified by the second quarter of 2007.

    AND:

    With this uncertainty in mind, it is not advisable to invest in these products lock, stock and barrel. Enterprise-grade WLAN manufacturers continue to wait for the standard to fully bake, and enterprise customers should do the same.

    For the record, I think regardless if it's called pre-N or "draft 802.11n", it is still isn't the final product... so beware what you buy.

  • mobility (Score:3, Funny)

    by MAPA3M (718897) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:16PM (#15197521)
    If you're hooked up to a fat pipe, but want mobility I was under the impression that immobility was the desired effect of a fat pipe...
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:19PM (#15197536)
    .... but maybe the prudent thing to do is wait and see how these new products behave in the real world. Early indications are that there are "issues" as described in the articles below:

    http://news.zdnet.co.uk/communications/wireless/0, 39020348,39265307,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk]
    http://www.eetimes.com/news/semi/showArticle.jhtml ?articleID=186700327 [eetimes.com]
    http://wifinetnews.com/archives/006507.html [wifinetnews.com]

    • As always, let those who need the very latest and greatest fund the next round of R&D so that the rest of us can buy Rev B or C that has most of the bugs worked out.
    • I'm still using 802.11b at my house... we have Verizon DSL and it maxes out at about 400 kB/s down, 50 kB/s up. 802.11b seems to be more than enough for my needs. Obviously, I'd buy 802.11g if I were getting new stuff, but I don't know why it's something to get my panties in a twist over.

      Why exactly are people so excited by faster wireless networking when very few of them actually HAVE the "fat pipes" to connect to. Is there ANY residential cable/DSL service that actually exceeds the capacity of 802.11g?
      • Oh, and I serve files too... I run a small webserver off my computer, via my 802.11b connection. I don't play FPS games though I do enjoy a good networked game of FreeCiv. I also ssh into my home computer a lot from work etc., and the latency of a terminal window is almost imperceptible compared to a local login.
      • Why exactly are people so excited by faster wireless networking when very few of them actually HAVE the "fat pipes" to connect to. Is there ANY residential cable/DSL service that actually exceeds the capacity of 802.11g?

        The speed of my Internet connection has absolutely NOTHING to do with how much bandwidth I need between the computers and other devices on my network.

        For example, transferring a show from the living room Tivo to the bedroom Tivo happens at roughly 1x FF speed over 100 Mbps ethernet, but take
  • When mixing & matching 802.11b devices on an 802.11a or g network, the faster a and g devices are often slowed to b speeds. One hopes this will not happen with n.

    As for buying in advance, one also hopes that firmware upgrades will allow early adopters to conform to the final spec. when it's released. Does anyone know which manufacturers are better or worse at providing effective firmmware patches in this regard?

    -Kurt

    • by Anonymous Coward

      When mixing & matching 802.11b devices on an 802.11a or g network, the faster a and g devices are often slowed to b speeds.

      Not so. 802.11a works at a completely different frequency and couldn't give a rat's backside about the presence of b or g. It's only g that's had performance issues when b got involved precisely because it is backward compatible.

      Let the new 802.11n operate up at 5GHz with 802.11a so that b and g don't slow it down and can continue to operate as they are and I'd be a happy camper

  • by Coopjust (872796) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:24PM (#15197579)
    Why in the world would you buy a "Pre-N" router? You need a compatible card and router, which is not cheap, and will probably be incompatible.

    The title is also decieving;

    "The current draft of the 802.11n standard was approved for letter ballot in March; the full standard is expected to be ratified by the second quarter of 2007."

    So anything you buy will not work with what you buy when it's fully ratified. Pre-g, anyone?

    "During eWEEK Labs' tests, Linksys products based on Version 1.0 of the 802.11n draft standard were indeed fast--faster than anything we've tested to date--but issues with range and interference with legacy wireless networks show room for improvement."

    Speed may be important, but reliability is more important. Most internet connections aren't even close to that fast, and if it doesn't have range or reliability, why would you use it on a LAN?

    Gamers, who would benifit from this, use wired mice for similar reasons; batteries don't die in wired mice, no lag, no problems. Same reasons that they wouldn't use 802.11n: If 802.11n can't deliver reliability, why use it?

    And backwards compatibility? That's one of the most important points of all! Sheesh.

    • the same thing goes for HDTV.. all the new stuff wont work with the early adopters. Even if everybody kindda knew it would happen, peaple bought it anyway
    • I wouldn't worry about it so much. Most SOHO manufactures D-Link, LinkSys, Netgear etc shipped products of 802.11G before it was ratified and they didn't run into any major hiccups as far as I know. It's pretty common for companies to push products before the standard has been ratified. No one is going to produce chips unless they are confident it will be safe when the standard is completely ratified. Often just a firmware update will complete the standard.
    • Why use it? Well, MIMO-based wireless tends to do a better job with interference and range. In fact, coverage may be the big seller here as broadband internet speeds dont even come close to B let along N. People aren't complaining about speed (well most anyway) they complain about coverage.

      The thoroughput is very nice in situations where you have a home network with all the same brand network gear. Say you download a 1+gig movie on your desktop but decide you want to watch it on your laptop downstairs. At
  • Ah poo (Score:3, Funny)

    by whoop (194) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:30PM (#15197652) Homepage
    The ever obligatory...

    Great, I just bought X type product and now they come out with something newer to screw us into spending more money. Someone wake me when they stop this nonsense so I can buy one last product and die in peace!
  • Please leave my fat pipe out of this...

  • The Belkin Wireless Pre-N (F5D8230-4) Router (F5D82304) [epinions.com] has been out since October 2004, and gets good reviews at epinions.com
  • by grc (52842) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @12:59PM (#15197913) Homepage
    Did anyone notice that the numbers are not very impressive? The Asus Wireless G had 85% of the throughput of the Linksys WRT300N, and much better range degradation. I think that Linksyss claim of 4X the range and 12X the speed of other G class hardware falls flat on its face!
  • Hideous. What is that, a radar dish on the middle? Do they seriously want me to put that in my house? Were do I find enough clearance for the radar dish to rotate?
  • Damn the speed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DebianDog (472284) <dan@daTEAnslagle.com minus caffeine> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @02:05PM (#15198559) Homepage
    I am actually pretty satisfied with the speed of my 'G' system I would rather they would have focused their efforts on 'reliable speed at a DISTANCE' (without having to erect a GIANT antenna, boosters, etc...)

    A.K.A I want 'G' speeds 5-15 miles out.
    • There is always the question of power. You can have good signal quality on a military radar, but it also glows green in the night. All radiocomms are already thought out for some while now; The advances are algorithmic - you get better signal Signal-to-Noise ratio by more creative usage of bandwidth and frequency. But for signal penetration there are only two solutions: lower the frequency - longer waves penetrate better, or pump up the juice. I, for one, don't welcome my new green brain frying router overl
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Frankly, 802.11 is more than good enough for me on the bandwidth front. The problems with 802.11 to me are the per-wap RANGE.

    When does 802.16 / wimax actually hit market for real? I want a wireless protocol robust enough it can be realistically used for ISPs. I'm sick of being alternately gouged by cable and dsl companies for service which isn't as good as what I got 10 years ago as a dialup customer.
    • It's just in the same state of flux that this N specifiction is..

      You can buy wimax distribution systems now, alvarion has one, navini has one, but the problem is that they're based on a protocol that isn't finished. In the meantime, have a look at hiperLan gear, it's not half bad, for the meantime.
  • by galimore (461274)
    Uhhh...

    The "Pre-N" stuff floating around is all Airgo manufactured. The Airgo design differs from the 802.11n draft, and I suspect that's what this is really all about.

    Airgo has a *LOT* to lose by not getting the standard changed in their favor. They put all their eggs in one basket on this one... and the IEEE didn't go with their solution.

    I'd take anything that comes out of an interview with somebody who works for Airgo with a healthy dose of salt...

    It sounds like they're spreading FUD about the IEEE dra
  • In the year 2000: Dell: "Essentially, Dell was responsible for selecting, if not necessarily developing, many of the technologies in today's desktop computers and servers. Among standards for which he said Dell deserves credit are 802.11 wireless networking"

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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