Wireless LANs get 54Mbps boost

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has approved a new standard called 802.11g for wireless local area...

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has approved a new standard called 802.11g for wireless local area networks (LANs) operating in the 2.4GHz band.

The new standard could boost speeds of wireless LANs from 11Mbps to as much as 54Mbps.

Gregory Williams, president of the chipmaker Intersil, said the standard represents a "huge win" for the wireless industry because it is backwards compatible with existing 802.11b wireless LANs, which have an installed base of 11 million users. Intersil plans to produce chipsets that will operate at speeds of up to 54Mbps.

Matthew Shoemake, chairman of the IEEE high data-rate study group and manager of research and development for the wireless networking business unit at Texas Instruments, called 802.11g the next critical step to ensure quick adoption of a higher data-rate standard.

Products based on the 802.11g standard will compete with wireless LAN systems introduced at Comdex 2001 by Intel and Proximal, which also deliver 54Mbps under the 802.11a standard, as well as technologies trademarked Wi-Fi5 by the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance. That standard operates in the 5GHz unlicensed spectrum band.

Alan Reiter, an analyst at Wireless Internet & Mobile Computing, said users trying to determine which wireless standard to use should keep in mind that they could encounter interference in the 2.4GHz band used by Bluetooth short-range wireless devices, as well as products based on 802.11b and 802.11g.

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