April 14, 2005 4:00 AM PDT

FAQ: Wi-Fi alphabet soup

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How do various Wi-Fi standards compare on speed?
The 802.11b standard offers a top data transfer speed of 11mbps under optimal conditions, but it typically achieves about half that rate in the real world.

The 802.11g and 802.11a standards top out at data transfer speeds of 54mbps under optimal conditions. Like 802.11b, they generally perform at half their top speed in real-world installations.

Manufacturers of MIMO products say throughput can reach more than 108mbps. Ultimately, the IEEE is aiming for speeds from 100mbps and higher for the 802.11n standard.

What manufacturers currently sell MIMO gear?
A number of wireless networking chipmakers, such as Airgo and Atheros, are manufacturing their own versions of MIMO parts and several gear companies have been shipping products using those chips. Belkin and Linksys use Airgo's MIMO chips in their MIMO products. Belkin calls it MIMO Pre-N, while Linksys refers to it as SRX Speed and Range eXpansion. Netgear uses two types of MIMO technologies, one from Airgo, which it calls Pre-N, and another from Atheros and Video54, which it calls RangeMax.

Early reviews of these products indicate that the less-expensive RangeMax gear is more complicated to use and can potentially interrupt other, nearby Wi-Fi networks. Pre-N products offer higher throughputs at the outer edges of their range, but they cost more.

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Its a good story.. heres a little more..
I applaud the author for doing a lot of research on this issue. As someone implementing this in the buisness world, and using all of these technologies, plus others.. there is a lot more complexity to these devices as well as their ramifications.

One thing we need to stress as technology people is security in these wireless devices. Most people are implementing these devices with little or worse yet no security only to have problems with legal, sarbanes-oxley or HIPPA later on down the road.

In addition, the standards and naming can be a little confusing. What is being referred to in the article as 108MB Pre-N is not really pre-N, it is tagged as Super-G. The new Pre-N / N proposed standards are supposed to deliver (And ill treat this supposed as if a Microsoft representative said it if you know what i mean..) almost 1G of data bandwidth shared between all users on the Access point at the core and no less than 500MB of combined data at the fringe points. And oh yeah.. the fringe point is supposed to be almost a 1/4 mile in legnth.

When/If Pre-N/N ever really becomes a commonplace the need for higher security and responsibility becomes even that much more. Deployment of these devices without planning, security and site surveys opens persons and companies up to great liability. Dont believe me.. you will when homeland security comes knocking at your door one day for something your neighbor 3 doors down did on your internet connection.

Just a few thoughts.. but its nice to see something about wireless published where the author did their homework instead of spewing market press by some vendor.

Thanks for letting me give my 2 cents!

Be Well..

Bob.
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"We can never see past the choices we don't understand." - You should know who said this and why.
Posted by (55 comments )
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802.11b has lower bandwidth and shorter range compared with other types of
?
802.11b has longer range in my experiences and in theory.
Posted by Yo-Min, Chu (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
depends on the manufacturer
In theory, yes - in my experience, definitely not.
My new noname chinese .g+ cable router + access point(108 speed in theory) has a much better range (and it is fast)than my older Linksys .b thingie...
Posted by googey10 (27 comments )
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