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Proprietary Extensions to the IEEE 802.11g Standard

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Proprietary Extensions to the IEEE 802.11g Standard

Although IEEE 802.11g is the fastest IEEE wireless network standard at present, it is frequently referred to as the slowest wireless network standard at many retail stores. This is because most vendors have created various extensions to the IEEE 802.11g standard in a drive to:

  • Improve network performance
  • Sell more expensive network adapters, wireless access points, and other network hardware

Proprietary extensions fall into the following categories:

  • Network hardware promising faster throughput
  • Network hardware offering greater range

There are two major technologies designed to improve IEEE 802.11g transfer rates. They are:

  • Atheros SuperG
  • Broadcom Afterburner

Atheros and Broadcom are chipset vendors, not network adapter vendors. However, between them, almost all wireless network vendors offer one or the other speedup technologies as part of their product lines. Table 22.2 compares the major features of these technologies.

Table 22.2—Faster-than-802.11g Technologies Compared


Atheros SuperG

Broadcom Afterburner

Claimed Top Speed



Claimed Improvement Over 802.11g (54Mbps)

2x faster than 802.11g

2.3x faster than 802.11g

Method used for speed improvement

Channel bonding using two non-overlapping channels; can automatically revert to a single channel when another wireless network causes interference

Reduced signaling overhead; combines packets

Vendors Supporting the Technology

D-Link (AirPlus Xtreme G)

NetGear (108Mbps)

Belkin (Wireless G Plus)

Buffalo (AirStation 125)

Linksys (SpeedBooster)

US Robotics (Wireless Turbo 125)

Although the real-world throughput of these products is considerably lower than the stated speeds, both types of products do provide about a 30-35% boost in real-world throughput over standard 802.11g hardware. For best results, products from the same vendor, or at least using the same chipset, should be used on a single network.

The second type of improvement over standard IEEE 802.11g hardware involves improvements in range, often combined with speed improvements based on the technologies listed in Table 22.2.

Table 22.3 compares range-improvement technologies used by major wireless network vendors. Most use some form of MIMO (multiple in, multiple out), which uses multiple antennas in various ways.

Table 22.3—Range Improvements Technologies for Enhanced 802.11g Networks



Used by

How It Works


Airgo Networks


Belkin Pre-N Netgear Pre-N Linksys SRX

Two sending antennas in router send unique streams of data to three receiving antennas in True MIMO client.

Helps improve range and performance for standard 802.11g clients as well



D-Link SuperG MIMO

A pair of smart antennas send data directly to the antennas of the Super G MIMO client

Based on SuperG



Netgear RangeMax

Seven internal antennas are used in various combinations to transmit data directly to or reflected off obstacles

RangeMax network clients also have multiple antennas and optimized software

U.S. Robotics


U.S. Robotics MaxG

Router and clients feature higher signal strength and more sensitive receivers than previous versions

Shorter range than MIMO-based solutions; not suitable for long-distance (outdoors) use

Note that only U.S. Robotics is a wireless hardware vendor. The others are chipset and technology vendors. Therefore, you might see other vendors adopt various combinations of these technologies in the future.

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