The growth of Internet Protocol television (IPTV) may dovetail with 802.11n, but 802.11g still has life in it: In this podcast, I talk to co-founder and chief technical officer of Ruckus Wireless, Bill Kish, about how IPTV works through a home wireless distribution system; the adoption of IPTV by rural telcos; where 802.11n fits into the picture; and the difficulty of managing Wi-Fi in a metro-scale network.
Kish tells me that while quality of service (QoS) for prioritizing one kind of data packet over another might work well at higher layers of a network, it doesn't account for physical layer issues that crop up routinely on Wi-Fi networks. Ruckus adds some secret sauce, including an MIMO array, to provide consistent, low-latency data streams. They also handle multiple streams of video, where QoS typically can only prioritize video as a category, with all video packets treated equally within that stream. That doesn't work in the quick-channel-change world of IPTV, where buffering is barely an option.
We also talk about how 802.11n doesn't answer every problem because so many of its new attributes only work in particular cases. Kish says that 802.11n will offer better throughput overall, but it requires a fairly specific set of circumstances to achieve its best throughput rate, notably no nearby networks to interfere with 802.11n's double-wide channels. [33 min., 15 MB, MP3]