|Last week’s first round of IEEE voting favored the Task Group N (TGn) Sync proposal, submitted by Atheros, Intel, Sony, Matsushita and Toshiba, for the next-generation 802.11n standard technology. TGn Sync won with 181 votes to 140 votes for the World Wide Spectrum Efficiency (WWiSE) consortium’s proposal submitted by Airgo Networks, Broadcom, Conexant, Motorola, Texas Instruments and recently Nokia.
But the contest isn’t over yet, for either plan to be ratified as the new standard it must reach a 75 percent “supermajority” at the next IEEE vote in May. If approved by the supermajority vote, the proposal would then move forward as the draft standard and then as the final specification.
N is the next addition to the alphabet soup of 802.11 standards. The wireless industry hopes n will replace the current crop of 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g standards, with data rates in the neighborhood of 100 Mbps. Though 802.11n products have already hit the market, the IEEE’s role is to not only choose a standard, but to also develop it for maximum throughput and interoperability.
However unfinalized the contest, TGn Sync has been a favorite at the last two IEEE meetings. Which makes Nokia’s switch from TGn Sync to WWiSE, a week before the vote, curious. I haven’t seen an official comment from Nokia about the outcome of the vote, but Steven Gray, head of Nokia Research Center USA, commented about the switch previous to the vote in a formal statement, “We believe our expertise in power efficient air interface design, rich history with Wi-Fi, VoIP, and other enabling technologies will further strengthen the WWiSE proposal and speed the time to market for 802.11n capable handheld devices.”
Both the TGn Sync and WWiSE plans are based on MIMO (multiple-in, multiple-out) technology that uses an array of antennas to better shape the signal, and both have proposed using 20MHz channels with 40MHz and even 60MHz extensions, which are not currently permitted in Japan.