May 1st, 2006
Today [tag]Belkin[/tag] have entered the uncertain waters of draft-[tag]802.11n[/tag] gear and announced their [tag]N1[/tag] wireless line of equipment.
The N1 range currently consists of:
To come in Q3 of this year is a USB adaptor card (F5D8051).
On paper this gear sounds great (up to 300Mbps, increased coverage, backward compatible with 802.11b/g) but none of it makes up for the gear being based on a draft specification. Like Ed Bott said last week, networks are complicated enough without adding in gear that is based on a draft. I have no doubt that this gear will sell, and sell well (after all, everyone wants more speed and coverage) but I can see a lot of trouble ahead for early adopters.
If you do want to experience 802.11n, then my recommendation is that:
- You buy all your gear (router, desktop cards and notebook cards) from the same manufacturer. This will help minimize compatibility issues
- You upgrade your firmware and drivers regularly to patch up bugs and security issues
- Don't deploy a draft 802.11n network anywhere that's mission-critical, because you might be without a network
- You remember that backward-compatibility on paper is different to real-life backward-compatibility
- Expect trouble. Lots of trouble!