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Draft 802.11n proposal approved

The IEEE has unanimously approved a draft version of the revised standard for the next generation of Wi-Fi technology, known as 802.11n at the moment.

Representatives at a meeting in Hawaii voted to endorse a preliminary standard proposed by an Intel-backed organization known as the Enhanced Wireless Consortium, which combined aspects of competing proposals from two other groups.

The 802.11n standard could allow notebook and handheld device users to connect to wireless access points at up to four times the speed of current Wi-Fi chips. The technology behind the improved performance is known as MIMO (multiple-in, multiple-out). MIMO chips use multiple antennas, and each antenna can send and receive more than one wireless signal. This allows for wider range and faster bandwidth on next-generation Wi-Fi clients and access points.

A final standard is not expected to be ratified until next year, with the first products following shortly thereafter.