Wi-Fi Alliance Moves To Establish Interoperability For 802.11n

The Wi-Fi Alliance will certify that the pre-standard products are up to snuff.

August 29, 2006

1 Min Read
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Alarmed by manufacturers going off on their own to produce some advanced Wi-Fi products, the Wi-Fi Alliance said Tuesday that it will certify interoperability of the IEEE 802.11n standard in future months.

With speeds up to ten times as fast as 802.11a and 802.11g, the "n" version is eagerly awaited in the marketplace, but fears of incompatibility were causing some customers to delay plans to adopt the new solution. Several vendors have been shipping pre-certified 802.11n products, causing some confusion because of the lack of certification.

"While we are committed to supporting a full 802.11n standard when it is available, pre-standard products are reaching a level of maturity and there is enough market uptake that a certification program makes sense for the industry," said Wi-Fi Alliance managing director Frank Hanzlik, in a statement.

The Wi-Fi Alliance plans to address the issue in stages, with the first stage of certification slated to be carried out in the first half of 2007. A second stage is scheduled for the first quarter of 2008.

The Wi-Fi Alliance noted that products with features drawn from early draft specifications are in the market with tens of millions of pre-standard devices expected to ship before formal certification.Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner Research, said the Wi-Fi Alliance's interim certification can achieve industry interoperability, "something the alternative approaches to date were unable to guarantee."

As the main driver behind Wi-Fi, Intel has supported various versions of the technology. Its executives have said the firm plans to release its 802.11n chip next year--before the final standard is agreed upon.

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