10/06/2006

Netgear announce new pre802.11n systems

Netgear on Wednesday announced their new pre802.11n system known as Rangemax Next (that's a play on the "N" if anyone didn't notice).

They've announced an ADSL2+ router DG834N which will retail for around £119, an Ethernet router (for cable) WNR834B for around the same price. Both have a wireless preN interface and a 4 port 10/100Mb/s Ethernet switch.

The WNR854T is also Ethernet/Wireless but supports 1000Mb/s switched ports.

Unfortunately the DG834N/WNR834B are based on the Broadcom chipset and the WN854T is based on the Marvel chipset and guess what, they don't interoperate (unless in standard 802.11g mode).

If the same type of equipment is used then speeds of up to 300Mb/s are quoted, though usable bandwidth will be more like 120Mb/s, which is good for video streaming, file sharing etc.

Be very wary of buying 802.11n equipment, the draft 1.0 specification (which all current systems are based upon) was rejected with thousands of objections (when pre802.11g systems were released, the final specification only had around 500 objections), so it's very likely there will still be major changes that cant be fixed in software and will need silicon changes.

Utilising an access point from one manufacturer and a wireless card from another wont get much better performance than existing systems.

Laptop vendors are unlikely to embed new wireless cards until the standard is stable, which is at least a year away.
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