802.11g draft throttles speeds to 20Mbit/sec

— 4:04 AM on May 23, 2003

ComputerWorld is reporting that the IEEE has approved a final draft for its 802.11g wireless networking standard that sets speeds between 10 and 20Mbit/sec. Initially, the standard was pegged to hit speeds of 54Mbit/sec, but the IEEE is throttling that back to ensure backwards compatibility with existing 802.11b hardware. I can understand the need to maintain some level of backwards compatibility with existing 802.11b networks, which share the same 2.4GHz frequency band as 802.11g gear, but it's unfortunate that even pure 802.11g networks will never see speeds in excess of 20Mbit/sec under the proposed standard, which could be ratified in June.

Even before the IEEE formally settled on the standard for 802.11g, manufacturers were already offering products based on the technology. Currently, D-Link has a full line of 802.11g-compliant wireless products that promise speeds of up to 54Mbit/sec. Apple offers wireless products based on a 54MBit/sec 802.11g standard, too. If the IEEE's final draft is ratified, driver updates will have to throttle current 54Mbit/sec 802.11g device speeds down to 20Mbit/sec, which will likely infuriate customers who had previously enjoyed faster speeds.

Thanks to TR reader Thresher for the tip.

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