Wireless radio component specifications contained within beta distributions of iPhone 3.0 firmware reveal support for a new chip enabling low power 802.11n that's bound for Apple's third-generation iPod touch. It's therefore also likely to be included with new iPhone models.
The version of the existing Broadcom chip that supplies WiFi and Bluetooth on existing models jumps from BCM4325 to BCM4329, according to resource files reserved for a third-generation iPod touch. The component upgrade adds new support for 802.11n features, including the ability to find and join 5GHz networks.
Existing iPhone and iPod touch models only support 5GHz 802.11a networks, or 2.4GHz 802.11b/g networks, forcing users who want the top speed of 802.11n (available on all MacBooks) but compatibility with 802.11b/g networks (to use the existing iPhone) to set up a 2.4GHz compatible network. That compromise forces the wireless network to deal with interference from other networks on the often crowded 2.4GHz band.
Apple's latest generation of AirPort base stations added new hardware support for dual-band networks, allowing both fast and slow devices to connect to independent 5GHz and 2.4GHz signals at the same time. However, this isn't possible with previous AirPort base station hardware, or when setting up an ad-hoc WiFi network from a notebook, for example.
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