Wireless LAN standard to cut power use from 2010

The upcoming 802.11v standard will lower power consumption in wireless LANs, according to Matthew Gast, principal engineer at Trapeze Networks.

The upcoming 802.11v standard will lower power consumption in wireless LANs, according to Matthew Gast, principal engineer at Trapeze Networks.

Work on the standard began early in 2004 and ratification is currently scheduled for March 2010. Features include a Wireless Network Management Sleep Mode, improvement on base 802.11 power savings and longer power-off times for 802.11 radios.

Quantifying power savings is hard, because it depends on application characteristics, according to Gast, who talked about the standard during a panel discussion at the Interop New York trade show on Friday.

"Applications that can sleep for extensive periods of time, such as a Wi-Fi phone that is on-hook most of the time, will see the greatest savings," he said via e-mail.

In addition, 802.11v will add management features that allow for a more detailed view of network performance, and location features that will offer more accuracy for services like RFID (radio frequency identification) and emergency services, according to Gast.

Gast is also the chair of Wi-Fi Alliance Wireless Network Management task group, which is already involved in developing requirements for a network management certification. "Our target is to have the certification plan in place by the time 802.11v is ratified, which would mean the first few products are available at that point," he said.

As the 802.11 group continues to develop more wireless LAN standards and uses the entire the alphabet, it's time to add another letter. "When the alphabet runs out, you start over, but with an "a" in front: aa, ab, ac, and on up to az, followed by ba, bb, bc, bd, and on up to bz. In fact, there already is a task group aa at 802.11, which is developing a specification for video streaming," said Gast.

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