Allentown, PA -- Agere Systems announced support for a baseline wireless networking specification that establishes ultra-fast data streams for wireless HDTV transmissions as well as high-density user environments for corporate and retail wireless networks. This proposal defines the next generation of wireless networking " referred to as the IEEE 802.11n protocol " to deliver a raw data rate of 500 megabits-per-second (Mbits/s), roughly 10 times faster than today's wireless LANs. It also ensures broad interoperability with existing Wi-Fi standards and support for all major PC, consumer electronics and mobile platforms.
Target applications for the 802.11n standard fall into two basic groups " those requiring high-speed data transmissions plus strong quality of service (QoS), and those that need the equivalent of wired network performance for such high-density environments as a large enterprise or apartment complex. Agere's proposal, to be submitted to the IEEE this summer, incorporates continued innovations in multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) techniques, as well as wide bandwidth channels, 5 GHz transmissions and numerous operating modes to ensure robust data throughput, increased network capacity and legacy protocol compatibility.
These techniques will help wireless networking products surpass today's Ethernet LAN speeds. While mandatory implementations for the proposed specification support 250 Mbits/sec, provisions would allow transmission speeds approaching 500 Mbits/s.
Agere's 802.11n submission focuses on two techniques to drive higher data rates and spectral efficiency: MIMO and wide channel bandwidths.
MIMO techniques for increased data rates " MIMO is a technique that increases data throughput on a single channel by creating more "air paths" for the data to be transmitted. Using multiple transmit and receive antennas, each path can carry a different set of data at the same frequency. MIMO improves network capacity by increasing the speed by which transmissions are sent, freeing up time for additional transmissions. Using MIMO to increase data rates also avoids the use of more complex modulation schemes that reduce the range and robustness of a WLAN solution.
40/20 MHz channel widths " This proposal supports both 20 and 40 MHz channel widths, allowing for worldwide operation and increased data capacity. The 40 MHz channels, consisting of two adjacent 20 MHz channels, will more than double today's 54 Mbit/s data rates to approximately 125 Mbits/s per transmission. This is accomplished by capitalizing on the unused quad band found between two channels.
Data throughput increases proportionally to the number of antennas, and Agere's proposal calls for a minimum of two antennas at each transmitter and receiver, with a maximum of four. A 2x2 antenna MIMO configuration coupled with wider channel bandwidths enables a 250 Mbits/s data rate. A 4x4 configuration can enable data rates approaching 500 Mbits/s, optimized for backhaul pipes in large retail stores, for example, to wirelessly link multiple access points together.
Other key specifications include:
Operation in 5 GHz spectrum " With 440 MHz of bandwidth available in the 5 GHz frequency spectrum, 802.11n networks will benefit from having up to 11 available 40 MHz channels, compared to only two available wide-bandwidth channels in the 2.4 GHz band. This additional capacity affords greater opportunities for increased wireless services, such as offering a competitive selection of network operators in a given hotspot, facilitating high-speed connectivity to multiple apartments or offices, and delivering high-speed streaming video over dedicated channels. Wi-Fi connectivity at 5 GHz is also a favorable alternative to the more congested 2.4 GHz frequency band, which is already home to multiple wireless devices and applications, including cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors and Bluetooth-based products.
Coexistence and backward compatibility " Agere is committed to supporting new and existing operating environments for wireless networking. While this baseline specification focuses on 40 MHz channels in the 5 GHz band, it also supports 20 MHz channels and 2.4 GHz frequency use. This provides 802.11n systems with a path for backward compatibility with 802.11b, a and g networks, as well as compliance with the 20 MHz channel requirement for wireless LANs in Japan. This specification would also fully support the 802.11e QoS standard being finalized this year for Wi-Fi networks.
Single and multiple destination frame aggregation " The proposal specifies a standardized frame aggregation for both single and multiple destinations to improve network efficiency and interoperability. Frame aggregation " which merges several frames together in a single packet " is important for streaming applications including wireless voice over IP and multimedia content.
Finalization of the 802.11n specification is expected to be completed by the IEEE in 2006.
For more information, customers may visit Agere's Web site at www.agere.com or contact one of Agere's regional sales offices. Customers in the U.S. may also call the Agere Systems Customer Response Center at 1-800-372-2447. Customers in Canada may call 1-800-553-2448. Customers outside those countries may call 1-610-712-4323 or e-mail queries to email@example.com.
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