No certification

Vendors touted pre-standard technology for 802.11g Wi-Fi devices that later did not meet the standard. But the Wi-Fi Alliance doesn’t intend to let it happen again with the new faster 802.11n standard.

Vendors took advantage of unsuspecting buyers when they touted pre-standard technology for 802.11g that later did not meet the standard. Left unchecked, the industry is poised to repeat itself with 802.11n. But the Wi-Fi Alliance doesn’t intend to let that happen.

This week, it said that it will not certify data rate enhancement features based on the IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) 802.11n amendment to the 802.11 wireless LAN standard until the standard is ratified.

No IEEE 802.11n products currently exist, and none are expected to exist until the standard is completed around November 2006.

What’s more, the Wi-Fi Alliance added that it will revoke the Wi-Fi certification of any product with claims of IEEE 802.11n capabilities if that product is proven to adversely impact the interoperability of other Wi-Fi Certified products.

‘Pre-standard products always present an inherent risk for technology adopters, and that is why we will not certify 802.11n products until the IEEE standard is finalised,’ said Wi-Fi Alliance Managing Director, Frank Hanzlik.

Due to the potential for customer confusion, the Wi-Fi Alliance strongly discourages use of the term “IEEE 802.11n” in association with any Wi-Fi Certified product.

‘With this announcement, the Wi-Fi Alliance demonstrates its commitment to ensuring that the Wi-Fi logo stands for product integrity and true interoperability,’ added Ken Dulaney, a Gartner analyst covering wireless LANs.

The Wi-Fi Alliance (formerly WECA) is the global Wi-Fi organization that created the Wi-Fi brand. A nonprofit trade association, the Alliance was formed in 1999 to certify interoperability of IEEE 802.11 products and to promote them as the global, wireless LAN standard across all market segments.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has instituted a test suite that defines how member products are tested to certify that they are interoperable with other Wi-Fi Certified products. The tests are conducted at independent laboratories.

Membership in the Wi-Fi Alliance is open to all companies that support the IEEE 802.11 family of standards. The Wi-Fi Alliance now comprises over 200 members from the world’s leading companies. These companies offer over 1,500 Wi-Fi Certified products.

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