Pre-802.11n hardware hype 'unrealistic'

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Pre-802.11n hardware hype 'unrealistic'

Technologies battle for inclusion in next-gen notebooks.

The market for wireless equipped notebooks will see a gradual shift from 802.11g to 802.11n Wi-Fi, but vendors are creating confusion in the market by launching 'pre-n' hardware before the standard is officially ratified, industry experts warned today.

Stan Schatt, vice president and research director at ABI Research, said: "With the 802.11n standard still some way off, and the Wi-Fi Alliance aggressively promoting certification of 'pre-n' products, the stage may be set for some market confusion."

Some chip makers in particular are unrealistic about their expectations for pre-draft 802.11n, according to Schatt.

"In our experience large enterprises are always very conservative about embracing non-standard solutions," he said.

"As a result, we are likely to see a solid majority of 'premium g' device sales in the consumer sector in the next couple of years, but not much traction in the enterprise."

Notebook manufacturers and wireless integrated circuit vendors such as Intel, Atheros and Marvell have a "critical interest" in how notebook connectivity is going to evolve, the analyst believes.

"There is limited room in a notebook computer for antennas and radios. We will see a battle among competing technologies to reserve a place in the notebook, and many chip manufacturers are very concerned about this," said Schatt.

"Notebooks, except perhaps the lowest tier of inexpensive Asian machines, will all have Wi-Fi. The question is what else will they have? UWB? Cellular? WiMax?"
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