When to expect high-speed wireless LANs

The timetable for next-generation wireless LAN products based on IEEE 802.11a, 802.11g and HiperLAN2 specs calls for some product availability late this year and volume shipments in 2002. Dual-technology access points that support both the currently implemented 11M bit/sec 802.11b technology and one of the emerging 22M- to 54M bit/sec standards are expected to be available to help you with migration -- much in the way that 10/100 wired Ethernet products have bridged that standards gap.

It is likely that products based on the 802.11g spec for 22M bit/sec wireless LANs will hit the shelves first -- possibly later this year -- pending Federal Communications Commission approval of use of U.S. 2.4-GHz spectrum for the technology, says a spokesman from the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA). WECA is the industry vendor group that certifies interoperability among IEEE 802.11-based products.

Meanwhile, faster 802.11a and HiperLAN2 products, which run in the unlicensed 5GHz frequency band and offer speeds to 54M bit/sec, will likely show up around six to 12 months later. WECA says interoperability and certification testing should begin late this year for 802.11a products with commercial availability likely in the second half of 2002.

The HiperLAN2 Global Forum seems a little further along. It says it expects some production systems by mid to late 2001 with large-scale availability in early 2002. Early demonstrations of HiperLAN2 prototypes took place in December, and the interoperability specification for the HiperLAN2 radio interface has been finalized, the group says. The group also says that that the interoperability specifications for HiperLAN2 access-point interfaces are nearly complete.

This story, "When to expect high-speed wireless LANs " was originally published by Network World.

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