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Apple pushes out pre-n WiFi in MacBooks

Apple has continued its stealth rollout of 802.11n wireless networking with the installation of D-Link Rangebooster chipsets in its new Core2Duo MacBook Pros.

The presence of next-generation WiFi technology in the new portables is no great surprise, given the similarly enabled Broadcom chipsets are fitted in the Core2Duo iMacs introduced last month. Apple's iTV video streaming box, which will go on sale next year, is also thought to include the faster wireless specification.

Currently OS X does not support the higher speeds and greater range that 802.11n provides - or at least the version of 802.11n currently awaiting final ratification by the IEEE 802.11 Working Group.

According to the Working Group's latest timeline, ratification is not expected until January 2008, by which stage Apple may well have joined a list of companies seeking pre-standard certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance.

The organisation announced in August that it would begin certifying 802.11 in 2007, as it does not expect the final, ratified version to differ greatly from the current specification.

'We believe the maturity of the baseline features in the pre-standard certification diminishes the risk that products won't comply with IEEE 802.11n when it is ratified,' said Wi-Fi Alliance managing director Frank Hanzlik.

It is thought that firmware updates will be able to address any changes made before final ratification.

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