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Closing Thoughts

So there you have the state of the draft 11n interoperability story, or as much of it as available at this point. Notably absent is gear using Atheros' xspaN chipsets, which is expected to start appearing in stores sometime this month (June 2006). In the meantime, however, Atheros joined forces with Broadcom (now there's an interesting alliance) to thump their collective chest about their draft 11n products actually being (gasp!) interoperable.

Imagine that. Products designed to the same standard actually being interoperable! The companies even issued a white paper describing the testing, which was conducted jointly by Broadcom and Atheros personnel. Too bad Atheros hasn't made any product available (at least to this reviewer) for independent verification of their claims.

While all this makes for great theater, this pitifully low level of interoperability and backward-compatibility is an embarrassment to the consumer WLAN industry and should be a wake-up call to all consumers. The industry had better stop hyping and start fixing this crap...and fast. Or the "N" in 802.11n will soon stand for "No" as in "no good", "no work", "no way", ahhh, you get the idea...I hope.

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