It will still take a year or more before the 802.11n WiFi standard will be finalized but the IEEE is already working on a successor dubbed IEEE 802.11 VHT (Very High Throughput). ExtremeTech writes the new standard will offer a bandwidth of one gigabit per second, roughly ten times as much as the 802.11n spec.
At this point, the IEEE has yet to formally approve what's known as a PAR, or a Project Approval Request, the first step on the road to an IEEE standard. However, that approval is expected. The proposed technology has also not yet been blessed by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which governs the technology.
On the other hand, much of the group's work has been in cooperation with the Alliance, including plans to use the technology in wireless display technologies for HDTV, fast file transfer, and campus deployments, among others.
If approved, the increase in data rates would be dramatic, at least by today's standards. The 802.11n standard calls for bandwidth on the order of 600 Mbits/s; today, so-called "pre-n" devices offer roughly 300 Mbits/s. But actual throughput can be much less, or only about 100 Mbits/s, after overhead and other traffic. The 802.11 VHT proposals call for throughput of at least a gigabit per second, which could place actual data rates many times higher. Interestingly, none of the PAR documents mention the estimated range for the wireless link.
When could such a standard be ratified, and IEEE 802.11 VHT products hit the market? Possibly around 2011 or 2012, according to James Gilb, the technical editor for the WirelessHD consortium and the maintainer of the 802.11 VHT PAR page.