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Wireless networking vendors turn Wireless-N up a notch

Wireless networking vendors will soon release a Wireless-N router that's capable of delivering speed up to 450Mbps.

The 450Mbps TEW-773GR from Trendnet is fast. Dong Ngo/CBS Interactive

Before I begin, let me say this one more time: The 802.11n wireless specification (or Wireless-N, which is currently still in draft state and therefore is also known as Draft N) is a wireless networking standard that offers speeds up to 300Mbps. That is a lot faster than the previous and popular specification 802.11g (or Wireless-G) that caps out at 54Mbps. Wireless-N is backward compatible with Wireless-G devices, meaning they can be connected to Wireless-N networks at 802.11g speed.

Now that, though confusing, is all common knowledge. What's not commonly known is that wireless vendors are about to turn Wireless-N up a notch, making it offer speeds up to 450Mbps. At CES this year, I ran into two vendors who showed off their newest higher-speed Wireless-N routers. Those vendors are D-Link, with the D-Link Xtreme N 450, and Trendnet, with the 450Mbps Wireless N Gigabit Router TEW-773GR.

The D-Link N 450 is similar in functionality to D-Link's DIR-855 Xtreme router. The router features Gigabit Ethernet, SharePort technology, and simultaneous dual-band 2.4 and 5GHz performance.

What makes the N 450 distinctively different from the DIR-855 is that it can offer wireless speeds up to 450Mbps. The 50-percent increase of speed is made possible by the latest chip design and faster processor that allow the router to handle three streams of signal per antenna. Most existing Wireless-N routers can handle only two streams and budget ones can handle only one stream per antenna.

The D-Link N 450 will be available around the beginning of the second quarter of 2009. Pricing is not yet available.

Similar to the N 450, Trendnet's TEW-773GR router also supports three high-performance antennas and three spatial streams per antenna. However the TEW-773GR is a single band 2.4GHz-only Wireless-N router. The router is also currently in a prototype state and will be available to the public in the second quarter of 2009. It's estimated to cost less than $200.

Like all Wireless-N routers, these new routers will be backward compatible with all existing wireless clients of the same band (2.4Ghz or 5GHz). In order for the 450Mbps to archive, users will need new clients (add-in cards/adapters) that support this speed.

As the change in speed is not based on a proprietary technology, it's highly likely that the 450Mbps routers and adapters from different vendors will interoperate at this speed, especially when they are Wi-Fi Certified.

The N 450 wireless router from D-Link can run as fast as 450Mbps. D-Link