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December 7, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

The November meeting of the IEEE 802.11 wireless local network comittee has settled on the Media Access Control protocol to be used as the basis for its forthcoming standard. It is based on a proposal submitted by Xircom Inc, NCR Corp and Symbol Technologies Inc. The foundation access method is based on Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance, CSMA/CA, an architecture said to support both asynchronous delivery data service (equivalent to that provided by Ethernet) and time-bounded services such as those required by wireless PABXs. It is designed for use with a variety of physical layers, such as direct sequence or frequency hopping, spread spectrum radios and infra-red, and is also said to be compatible with existing wired local network technologies. It is intended for use both within portable computers, and the new generation of Personal Digital Assistants. Only 75% of the voting membership is said to have voted for the proposal. While nobody was available to say who its opponents were, it is known that National Semiconductor helped tip the balance by agreeing to incorporate aspects of its own proposal relating to time-bounded services. Other supporters include Advanced Micro Devices, AT&T Global Business Communication Systems, ICL Retail Systems, Toshiba America Information Systems and NEC Corp.

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