802.11-2012 Wi-Fi revision offers 600Mbps and mesh networking
By Paul Ridden
May 14, 2012
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) Standards Association has announced the publication of the fourth revision to the 15 year-old 802.11 Wireless LAN Standard, upon which protocols like Wireless-N and 802.11ac are based. More commonly known as Wi-Fi, the latest revision brings together the base standard and the various technical updates and enhancements published in the last five years into a single document. Additions include much higher throughputs up to a maximum of 600Mbps, support for faster and more secure devices and networks, mesh networking and improved cellular network hand-off.
Announced at the recent International CTIA Wireless 2012 conference in New Orleans – which drew some 40,000 service providers, manufacturers, developers, retailers, enterprise end-users and the media together in one place – the revision updates the base standard to include all ten amendments that have been published since 2007, the last time it was revised.
IEEE 802.11-2012 or the Standard for Information technology - Telecommunications and information exchange between systems Local and metropolitan area networks - Specific requirements Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications to use its formal moniker, defines one Medium Access Control (MAC) and a number of Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications for fixed, portable and mobile wireless connectivity within a local area, while also offering regulators a means of standardizing access to one or more frequency bands for local area communication.
In addition to the increase in throughput, IEEE 802.11-2012 also includes support for mesh networking, which offers attractive reliability and redundancy benefits. Rather than a network of cabled communications devices, a mesh network is an organized collection of radio nodes often comprising gateways, routers and clients which can continue to function even when a node fails.
Direct-link setup between wireless stations, so-called fast roam that reduces hand-off delay in Wireless LANs during transitions between access points for greater mobile security, and radio resource measurement have also been included, together with operation in the 3650-3700MHz frequency band, vehicular environments, security, broadcast/multicast and unicast data delivery, and interworking with external networks and network management.
The IEEE reports that work on the next revision has already started, which will hopefully see a ten-fold increase in data transfer rates, improved audio and video delivery, an increase in effective range and lower power consumption.