The use of Wi-Fi, the trade name of wireless networking, has consistently grown both at home and in business. For good reason, the convenience of wireless operation can be found in many devices ranging from printers, cameras and mp3 players to every laptop, notebook and netbook. Wi-Fi capability is showing up on almost anything that works by connecting to something else.
Wi-Fi follows standards, which are instrumental to the interoperability between devices made by different vendors. The Wi-Fi standard falls under the control of the IEEE and is assigned the number 802.11.
Since 2003, the 802.11 standard was held at "g" which offered decent connectivity at the time but is rather inadequate today with the newer demands for video and voice over IP. For whatever reason, the IEEE was quite slow in bringing forth, or ratifying, the next version of Wi-Fi so a number of vendors got a little impatient.
When a standard is up for change the first set of changes are often referred to as drafts. So, during the process of changing the 802.11g standard to what would become 802.11n, drafts were released along the way indicating the technical changes of the upcoming standard. Many times the drafts become part of the new standard.
The companies that make Wi-Fi devices understand that drafts often become the standard, so instead of waiting for ratification of the 802.11n standard, they began release of 802.11n draft devices. It was a calculated risk on their part but it proved to be one that seemed to not hurt them.
The IEEE finally ratified the new standard and quietly released it on a late Friday afternoon in early September of this year. Anyone waiting for the new standard to be adopted no longer has to wait, 800.11n is now official.
Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at email@example.com.