We hope your 802.11a/b/g setup is doing alright, because it looks like the finalized specifications for the next leap forward in WiFi has taken yet another step back. While we've all been waiting (and waiting) for some good news to surface about the progression of 802.11n, it appears that bad news just follows the next-generation WiFi standard around like a shadow. Despite the fact that Draft 1.0 has already been implemented in a plethora of products, including Dell's own 802.11n card for notebooks, reports are pointing to January 2007 before we even see a vote on the second draft of the specification. This issue is getting critical as vendors have jumped all over preliminary specs in order to grab sales by touting "802.11n compliancy," but a mishmash of implementations that don't always play nice together, as well as the questionable ability of Draft 1.0 products to be upgraded to Draft 2.0 (not to mention the final 802.11n draft) with a simple firmware update, is paving a trail of incompatibility and confusion. Ideally, the IEEE captains who are steering this ship can get things on track for an early '07 approval, but even if this does go down, we supposedly won't see final (as in, the really-real-final) specifications until sometime in 2008. While achieving speeds of near 600Mbps sounds mighty tempting, you'd probably be better off avoiding any device that promises to deliver such performance until this decision-making bottleneck clears up -- unless, of course, you just like playing the odds.

[Via Ars Technica]

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Finalized 802.11n specs pushed further into the future