updated 10:25 am EDT, Fri August 29, 2008
IEEE Approves 802 11r WiFi
The IEEE standards group has approved 802.11r, a new variant on Wi-Fi designed to support roaming between access points. Also called Fast Basic Service Set Transition, the technology is designed to keep a secure Wi-Fi connection active by anticipating the needed security settings at the next access point. The format can determine the security settings and quality of service info for the next access point before actually hopping to the next point and thus reduces the delay in switching networks to where time-sensitive apps will remain active.
The standard would allow seamless connections across many private networks but is said to be particularly useful for VoIP, which can often drop calls altogether when moving between access points. Updating to 802.11r may also be important for offices, which often need secure Wi-Fi but often have more than one access point to provide coverage over a large area.
No immediate plans have been announced to put the new wireless implementation into shipping home Wi-Fi routers, though the approval will make the addition of 802.11r more feasible. It's unknown whether the standard requires a hardware upgrade or can be applied in software.