Wireless LAN: Past, Present, and Future

Keith Holt

This paper retraces the historical development of wireless LAN technology in the context of the pursuit of ever higher data rate, describes the significant technical breakthroughs that are now occurring, and speculates on future directions that the technology may take over the remainder of the decade. The challenges that these developments have created for low power operation are considered, as well as some of the opportunities that are presented to mitigate them. The importance of MIMO as an emerging technology for 802.11 is specifically highlighted, both in terms of the significant increase in data rate and range that it enables as well as the considerable challenge that it presents for the development of low power wireless LAN products.

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