Michael Chen, Intel’s Asia-Pacific director of embedded sales group, clarified that the new 802.11n Centrino chips will not support channel bonding if they run on the 2.4GHz spectrum. The said function involves using two channels in the WiFi spectrum to enable higher data transmission, as compared to current WiFi technologies that employ only one channel. Interference, however, is very likely if channel bonding is carried out on the 2.4GHz band, which existing 802.11b/g Wi-Fi gear and digital cordless phones are using. Sans channel bonding, 802.11n can still deliver sustained data rates of 50 Mbps, twice faster than 802.11g but half the maximum speed of 802.11n with channel bonding.
Aside from Intel, several companies like notebook makers Asus, Acer, Gateway and Toshiba, and network equipment vendors Belkin, Buffalo, D-Link and Netgear are ready to ship devices supporting 802.11n standard. Gartner, however, warned against premature adoption of the 802.11n standard. The analyst sees more discussions prior to the ratification of the specification, which might entail further changes and therefore need interoperability testing by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Gartner also fears that 802.11n compliance claims by vendors could mislead customers, who may think that the products “can be made compliant through upgrades.”