Dell and Acer have both announced that they are making wireless cards available for their notebook PCs, based on the pre-standard 802.11n wi-fi specification.
802.11n provides vastly superior speeds and reliability over existing wireless 802.11 protocols.
It’s all looking a little bit non-standard, a little bit ‘vendor tie in’. Though it’s based on Draft 1.0 of the specification, that draft hasn’t been finalised or ratified. That also means that the Wi-Fi Alliance won’t perform interoperability tests until the spec is confirmed.
Dell and Acer have specified different maximum data transfer rates for their cards: Dell say 270Mbps, Acer 300Mbps. Those are optimum conditions, in any case, which in part rely on a compatible base station.
Dell will be using a base station based on Broadcom’s Intensi-Fi
chipset, according to a statement by Broadcom, and the Wireless 1500
card can be used with all XPS and Inspiron notebooks. It’s currently
unclear what Acer will be using in its new Ferrari 1000 notebook.
It’s not definite that there’ll be incompatibility between these and other pre-standard systems,
but that won’t be officially known until the actual first spec for
802.11n becomes official, and that’s not due to happen until late 2007.