Networks Generation

Apr 8 2009   11:34AM GMT

Who Really Owns The 802.11 In Your WiFi?

Steve Broadhead Steve Broadhead Profile: Steve Broadhead

Tags:
802.11n
D-Link
Dell
HP
Infra-Red
Microsoft
ProCurve
RF
Supergold
WLAN

Interesting news from our friend HP (especially since I’m testing ProCurve newly acquired from Colubris WLAN controller) in that it has settled confidentially with Australia’s science agency CSIRO which has a longstanding patent claim against many of the well-known WLAN product vendors.

Not only will this prove expensive for HP (so that’s why all it’s staff had to take pay-cuts) but for the many other vendors who will now be expected to follow suit. These include the likes of giants such as Microsoft, Dell and Intel, WLAN tech guys Buffalo and mainstreamers such as D-Link, Netgear and Belkin and even Nintendo. So maybe it’s not only Ryanair that is looking to make you pay extra for a wii…

The patent originally granted to CSIRO back in the mid-’90’s revolved around the design of multi-path wireless that equates to the MIMO-based 802.11n standard – so enabling bandwith increases by an X factor – five in the case of the patent I understand. Funnily enough, around that time I was also doing some testing with a wireless start-up called Supergold that – even then – had 22Mbps working, but in an infra-red environment; this was the tip of the codepage iceburg; we were predicting 100Mbps+ easily in the first iteration of the product.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world went down the RF route, so Supergold was effectively scuppered. Makes you wonder just how many more “might have been’s” there are out there in the wireless world…

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