The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE, doesn't release new standards very often, however over the past few days has updated the both the wireless 802.11 standard and introduced 802.1aq to the Ethernet standard.
802.11-2012 is the fourth revision to the wireless standard since it launched 15 years ago and, aside from incorporating various technical updates, consolidates previous amendments to the standard, such as MAC and PHY modifications from the 802.11n spec allowing 600Mbps operation. Other amendments involve direct-link setup, fast roam, radio resource management, operation in the 3.65-3.7GHz bands, vechular environments, mesh networking, security, broadcast/multicast/unicast data delivery, interworking with external networks and network management.
In summary, the new spec looks to promote fast cellular hand-off, in-car/bus networks and enhanced roaming and mesh networking, whilst offering greater speeds and support for the new 3.65-3.7GHz band to avoid conflicting with existing 2.4 and 5GHz networks.
Not so much a concern for the consumer market, the 802.1aq standard, also known as Shortest Path Bridging (SPB), is designed to simplify the complexity of large networks whilst increasing their scale, incorporating existing Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) and Multiple MAC Registration Protocol (MMRP) standards into a single, easy-to-use link state protocol.
The new protocol aims to reduce human error in network deployment and configuration by automating creation of a balanced network over several mediums and end points. The standard integrates Service Interface Identifier (I-SID) which boosts the number of possible VLAN services from four thousand to 16 million, which when provisioned at appropriate endpoints, are automatically connected and meshed together by the STP algorithm.