More wireless speed now that “N” is a standard
Last modified on Monday, 21 September 2009 10:40
Other than the fact that if you want Wi-Fi support for your Xbox 360 you are tied to the Microsoft-branded 802.11a/b/g USB adapter unless you elect to use an Ethernet to wireless bridge, you might find the news that Microsoft will be releasing a new USB Wireless adapter uninteresting.
However, the news that Microsoft will be releasing a new wireless adapter gets a lot more interesting due to the fact that it will offer wireless “N” support that was recently ratified as an actual standard. The new Microsoft Wireless Networking Adapter will be black in color and feature not one, but two, fold-down antennas that connect to your Xbox using the USB adapter on the back of the console. In fact, from what we have been able to tell, it looks pretty much the same as the original Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter that Microsoft has been raking in the dough on for years at $99 a hit.
The recently ratified standard can support transmission rates of up to 160Mbps or faster, depending on the distance or conditions. Generally, it is understood that 802.11n is about seven times faster in most situations than 802.11g at the same distance. The key to 802.11n is the MIMO technology which uses multiple antennas to send and receive simultaneously which yields better performance throughput and lower latency, which is important to gaming performance.
It is unknown when Microsoft plans to actually officially announce the existence of the Xbox 360 Wireless Networking 802.11n Adapter, but our sources suggest that they have been letting inventory go down a bit; but it is likely that they will slash the price a bit on the current 802.11a/b/g model by $20 and sell the new 802.11n model for $120 to start with for early adopters and those who want the performance offered by the “N” standard. Of course, the N version does provide dual-band compatibility and backward compatibility for those still using 802.11a/b/g, but of course a router or access point that supports the 802.11n final standard is required to be compatible with the new 360 Wireless Networking 802.11n Adapter.
Our sources tell us that they suspect that it will arrive in limited numbers before the end of the holidays, but look for Microsoft to officially launch it at CES in January.