Is software-only upgrade to 802.11n possible ?

Discussion in 'Cisco' started by JF Mezei, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. JF Mezei

    JF Mezei Guest

    I recently bought a 877 router. It has up to 802.11g standard.

    With the "n" standard having now been ratified, I am curious if it is
    technically possible for Cisco to enable the "n" service on existing
    equipment with just firmware upgrades ? Or does that require truly
    different hardware and frequencies that would not be available on
    equipment Cisco has been selling in recent months ?

    In other words, is it possible Cisco has been waiting for official
    ratification of the "n" standard before unleashing software upgrades
    that enable "n" this on its current products ?
    JF Mezei, Sep 19, 2009
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  2. JF Mezei

    alexd Guest

    The last 877W I opened up had an AR5213-based MiniPCI wifi card in, so could
    have supported A/B/G should Cisco have chosen to enable it, however it's B/G
    only. I'm going to extrapolate from this that they're not going to add 'N'
    [which seems to be such a broad term as to be pretty much meaningless] to
    products that don't already support it. 'show controller do0' should tell
    you what chipset you have.
    alexd, Sep 19, 2009
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  3. JF Mezei

    Uli Link Guest

    No. the Atheros radio used doesn't support the additional 802.11n
    features. For the throughput enhancements of 802.11n there is a lot of
    additional hardware needed.

    the Aironet 1250 and new 1140 APs are 802.11n capable.
    Uli Link, Sep 19, 2009
  4. JF Mezei

    JF Mezei Guest

    router2#show controller do0
    interface Dot11Radio0
    Radio ATHEROS AR5212, Base Address 0025.8462.45d0, BBlock version 0.01,

    So, As "Uli Link" said in another message, it looks like I am out of
    luck. At least I know not to expect it.

    But, since I now know the name of the chip...

    Supported Data Rates
    IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g Standard Mode 1-54 Mbps
    Atheros Super A Mode
    Atheros Super G Mode
    Atheros Super A/G Mode 1 - 108 Mbps

    Some blurb on the "super" mode:

    • Super A/G mode includes dynamic 108 Mbps capability, real-time
    hardware data compression, dynamic transmit optimization and
    standards-compliant bursting

    I wonder if this could have been an early implementation of the "n" ?
    Atheros now has the 5008 series chips which do formally support "n".
    JF Mezei, Sep 20, 2009
  5. When you see A/G 108 Mbps, that simply means that (with compatible kit on
    the other side) the product will be able to use a and g (which run at
    different frequencies) simultaneously, loadbalancing across the two, and
    getting up to 54 Mb on 5GHz .11a plus up to 54 Mb on 2.4 GHz .11g.

    The super-a and super-g modes probably include all the features they
    mention above, data compression and transit optimization and bursting, for
    whatever that's worth in real life. HTML may actually be very slightly
    compressible, so it may even have some effect for particular types of

    11n really is a very different kettle of fish, although it does run on
    both frequencies and the bundling of a and b frequencies is supported in
    the spec if both products support both frequencies -- many n products only
    use one, and you can usually tell by whether they are b/g/n or a/b/g/n

    Jasper Janssen, Nov 18, 2009
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