The New Wireless Standard

A new wireless standard is on the way, but when?
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the March 2006 issue of . Subscribe »

As the alphabet soup of Wi-Fi continues to stew, there is, as usual, a new standard on the way. Talk of 802.11n has been floating around for a while, but we're finally closing in on the ratification of the new standard. After a long bout of infighting between companies, the Enhanced Wireless Consortium emerged from the mire. Heavy-weights such as Apple, Cisco, Intel and Toshiba are all members of the group, which looks set to help push a standard through, possibly sometime this year.

Here's the buzz on 802.11n: Using MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) techniques, it should provide a minimum bandwidth of 100Mbps and possibly as much as 300Mbps. It should also feature signifi-cant gains in range and coverage quality.

All the confusion hasn't stopped Wi-Fi equipment manufacturers from coming out with pre-standard devices, usually described as pre-n or MIMO upgrades to 802.11g. Impatient entrepreneurs in need of more bandwidth and better wireless coverage should be aware of the potential trade-offs of pre-n adapters, though.

For starters, they're a little more expensive than 802.11g adapters and are not necessarily compatible across brands. The more pressing issue is that their compatibility with the official n standard--when it finally goes through--isn't guaranteed. Consider pre-n networks only if you have an immediate need. For more on pre-n routers, see "Finding MIMO".

Hold the Phone
This wireless phone service is at your beck and call.

Not everyone needs to install a complex on-site phone system to handle their communications. Businesses that need a lot of flexibility can look into something like Office Depot's Wireless Office service. No hardware installation is required, and users can choose from a lengthy menu of features. The heart of the system is a virtual switchboard that can organize a hodgepodge of cell and landline numbers under one main number. It's an intriguing solution for businesses that have remote workers, telecommuters or a collection of offices in different locations. It can also help businesses that have no physical headquarters make a professional impression.

Available features include a virtual receptionist, retail call routing, fax reception, voice mail and customizable call routing. There are a variety of pricing plans based on the number of minutes used per month. The unlimited plan is $90.95 per month with a $9.95 activation fee. Local minutes are included; long distance runs 5 cents per minute. Ten menus, 10 extensions and 10 voice-mail boxes are included; after that, a small fee applies for each additional block of 10. All in all, it's a low-hassle way to invest in a phone system without having to load up on equipment.

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.