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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 August, 2004, 06:59 GMT 07:59 UK
Wireless net to get speed boost
Shuttle lift-off, AP
Wi-fi is set to accelerate
Wireless networks could soon be running 10 times faster than they do now.

Competing technology groups are proposing different ways to speed up the data rates of wi-fi which could reach 540 megabits per second.

The battling technologies, called WWise and TGn Sync, are being assessed by the US organisation that rubber stamps improvements to wireless technology.

Wireless nets have proved a popular because they let people get fast access to the net and are easy to set up.

Faster data

Both proposals to speed up wi-fi exist largely on paper and could take years to find their way into hardware.

The US Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) oversees developments to wi-fi technology, the most well known of which goes by the family name of 802.11.

There are already several different 802.11 technologies, a,b and g, that work at different speeds. The fastest works at speeds of 54mbps.

The IEEE's 802.11n working group has been looking at ways to improve the data throughput of the wi-fi standard.

It aims to get data travelling at rates of 100mbps and more via the airwaves.

Although current wi-fi systems can already work at speeds up to 54mbps, the actual rate that data moves across them is far lower.

The differing proposals for ways to speed up data rates on wi-fi are backed by different companies.

The TGn Sync proposal has Agere, Intel and Atheros as its backers. The WWise idea is backed by Texas Instruments, Broadcom and others.

By fiddling with the way wi-fi transmits data the WWise group claims it can reach speeds of 540mbps. Using a more standard approach the group believes it can boost speeds to 135mbps.

Details about TGn Sync are sketchy but it too is aiming for speeds in excess of 500mbps.

Final decisions on the 802.11n standard are not expected before 2007.

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