Wireless Alphabet Soup

If you thought having 802.11a, b, and g to choose from was too much, get ready for your wireless future:

In July 2005, the FCC opened up the use of the 3.65-3.7 GHz band for public use, previously reserved for fixed satellite service networks. The 802.11y working group will develop a standard to use this band for 802.11 wireless networking while introducing a standards-based mechanism to avoid interfering with existing use of this spectrum. Benefit: More frequency space means more available channels, which is nice since 2.4 GHz is pretty crowded (one of my students recently found 960+ 802.11b/g AP's in downtown LA in 20 minutes of walking around the hotel). A standardized interference avoidance mechanism will also streamline the adoption of new frequencies in the future.

With the addition of 802.11y as a physical layer option for wireless networks, we'll likely see some new combination cards within the next few years to support this frequency. With the addition of 802.11n for MIMO, 802.11e for European 5 GHz networks and 802.11j cards for Japanese 4.9 GHz networks, we'll end up with 802.11a/b/e/g/j/n/y cards. Awesome!