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More smart phones to feature 802.11n by 2014

Posted: 15 Jan 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart phone  802.11n  Wi-Fi 

Although 802.11n is currently available is less than 1per cent of Wi-Fi enabled smart phones, it is expected to grow to 87 per cent by 2014 as per ABI research. However, users of these phones shouldn't expect laptop-like performance, at least not initially.

"Driven by chipmakers more than by handset vendors, 802.11n is making its official debut in higher-end smart phones in 2010," says ABI Research industry analyst Michael Morgan. "802.11n is arriving in the handset just at the right time. We had to wait for consumers to switch over to 802.11n access points, and we're just now reaching that tipping point. Something like 50 per cent of the Wi-Fi access points on offer are now 11n. Consumers are becoming aware of what it can do."

However, warns Morgan, "At first, 802.11n-enabled handsets will not offer MIMO or some of 11n's more advanced enhancements. So users won't see the same degree of improvement that they would with a laptop or netbook. While 802.11n will start to penetrate mid- and lower-end smart phones from about 2012 onwards, the full power of the protocol won't be available in most handsets until 2014 or later."

It costs manufacturers virtually no more to include 802.11n in handsets alongside the current "b" and "g" protocols. And those older technologies won't be going away, because handsets will need to work in the widest possible range of connectivity environments. The same applies to frequencies: 802.11n works best in the 5GHz band, while b and g are restricted to 2.4GHz. So, says Morgan, "It's important for vendors to continue offering all these protocols and if possible selectable frequency capabilities for some time to come.

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