I was over in the Micro Anvika shop within Manchester's Selfridges yesterday afternoon (where else to spend your Sundays -Ed) and was chatting with a guy looking at buying an 802.11n PCMCIA card.
Unknown to little old me, it seems the 11n WiFi proposed standard was ratified by the IEEE 802.11n working group last month, effectively giving the green light to the proposed standard to become an industry standard later in the spring.
Incredibly, Micro Anvika are already selling 11n WiFi kit and, the store assistant said, it is proving to be popular because of its 100 Mbps real-world speeds.
This kind of speed is achievable because the theoretical maximum speed of 11n is around 540 Mbps thanks to the use of MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) technology.
MIMO uses multiple transmitter and receiver antennas to allow for increased data throughput through techniques such as spatial multiplexing and spatial diversity.
Unlike most 11b and 11g systems, the 11n modems and cards being sold all have the ability to be firmware upgraded, meaning that as the `standard' evolves, they can be upgraded.
The real clincher is that, even with a full-blown VPN encryption system running - in addition to the usual WEP etc security system - the effective network speeds are still around the 100 Mbps mark.
Which is more than fast enough for most people. So the moral of the story here is - if you're thinking of getting a WiFi modem, make sure it's an 802.11n one, as it looks like 11n is definitely the future...