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Work In Progress

As I mentioned previously, the 802.11g IEEE specification, which is the ruling document that 802.11g products must adhere to, is not yet officially released. (Have I said that enough yet?) The current schedule has ratification, i.e. official approval, scheduled to occur in July 2003. Any products appearing before the spec is released can say only that they conform to the 802.11g draft specification.

What manufacturers aren't making clear however, is what version of the draft spec they conform to. Currently shipping products are designed using a mix of Version 4.0 and 5.0 spec drafts that emerged from the IEEE Task Group G meetings in September and November 2002 respectively.

As I write this at the beginning of February, draft 11g chipmakers are scrambling to incorporate the changes made in the latest Version 6.1 draft that resulted from the January 2003 meeting. The chipmakers are pushing to get the updated firmware in the hands of their customers - the networking product manufacturers - who eventually will make it available to buyers of draft-11g equipment. This could happen as early as late February, but will probably be more like March.

As it turns out, there are significant changes in the various drafts that effect both 802.11b interoperability and throughput performance of draft-802.11g products. The 802.11b interoperability issue is somewhat simpler, so I'll cover that first.

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