Last Friday, the IEEE finally ratified the 802.11n specification. You may find this to be a big yawner, but it really has some important implications for HDTV.
802.11n is the latest in the varients of the 802.11 specifications, which are commonly known as WiFi. 802.11b was the original and most common. 802.11a and 802.11g are about five times faster than 802.11b, but only 802.11g uses the same radio spectrum and so is more readily backward compatible. And 802.11n is about 30 times faster than 802.11b, at about 150 Mb/sec typical throughput. (By comparison, 100BaseT Ethernet is slower at 100 Mb/sec throughput.) As a result, you can have a broadband connection throughout your home without having to string cable everywhere. And this means that delivery of video content — including high definition — will be practical across wireless connections.
Now, this performance has already been available with products designated as “draft N wireless“, which have certification from the WiFi Alliance. The good news is that these products already should comply with this final version of the specification. Already, companies such as D-Link and Belkin have announced that their products comply with the newly ratified standard.
So if you have a “draft N” certified product, you should be ready for the new standard. And if you’ve been holding back from stepping up your home wireless network performance, you don’t have to wait any more now that the 802.11n standard is official. This will make it easier to bring the Internet into the livingroom, and will be one more important step toward accelerating acceptance of broadband delivery of movies and television programming to the home.