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New High-Speed Wi-Fi Spec Bows

A consortium of companies will introduce to the 802.11 Task Group N a new specification that would bump up wireless data speeds to the 100MBps mark, making video streaming a reality for CE and PC devices.

The group, consisting of Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Conexant Systems, STMicroelectronics among others, is working under the tag Worldwide Spectrum Efficiency (WWiSE). The new specification would come under the 802.11n standard. Bill Carney, Texas Instruments’ WLAN business development director, said the standard is backward-compatible with existing Wi-Fi networks.

Carney said CE companies are paying particular attention to the development of 802.11n because it will make wireless video streaming a possibility. The specification actually delivers a theoretical data transfer speed of 135MBps, but 100MBps is the true rate.

The official 802.11 committee endorsement is not likely for two to three years, Carney said, but he would not be surprised if vendors jumped the gun by developing and shipping products before the official thumbs-up is given.

The 802.11n’s basic features have it primarily running on the 5GHz band, but it is a simple matter to also include 2.4GHz capability allowing it to work with 802.11g networks. Carney said whether 802.11g, a or combo units are developed will depend upon each OEM’s need.