Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Monday, 14 September 2009 10:44 UK

'Next generation' wi-fi approved

laptops
manufacturers have been selling 802.11n products for many years

The next-generation of wi-fi technology has finally been approved for use, despite being on sale in laptops and other equipment for several years.

The 802.11n technology, as it is known, was ratified by the IEEE, a body that oversees all wi-fi standards.

It was conceived seven years ago and offers speeds at least six times faster than current approved technology.

Electronics firms have sold PCs and routers using the standard for many years, labelled "802.11n draft".

But without the IEEE's approval, there were no guarantees that future networking equipment would be compatible with the devices.

The IEEE's rubber stamp has changed that.

All existing draft 802.11n wi-fi products will work with the final standard, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance, a group that tests wireless products to ensure compliance.

"This was an extraordinarily wide-ranging technical challenge," said Bruce Kraemer of the IEEE.

"When we started in 2002, many of the technologies addressed in 802.11n were university research topics and had not been implemented."

Under ideal conditions, 802.11n technology can offer speeds of 300 megabits per second (Mbps) and above, many times higher than the previous 802.11g, which operates at speeds of up to 54 Mbps.

It is also able to transfer data over distances of 90m (300ft) indoors, double that of previous technologies.



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