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Wi-Fi Alliance 802.11n status report means little for enterprises

The Wi-Fi Alliance issued a press release today touting the certification of over 4000 devices, of which 140 received 802.11n draft 2.0 certification. While this bodes well for the consumer shopping at their local big box electronics store, those in the enterprise space have a little less to get excited about.
A quick glance at the current list of 802.11n draft 2.0 products show that only two enterprise WLAN vendors are represented: Cisco and Meru. Colubris and Trapeze, both which announced products months ago, are missing. Colubris announced product in May. Trapeze, in a press release around the same time stated that their 802.11n AP is ???Wi-Fi certifiable when the Wi-Fi Alliance launches its 802.11n certification program in June???, but that was almost half a year ago.
Two vendors can be given a little reprieve: Aruba and Xirrus. Aruba demonstrated some restraint by announcing their 802.11n products just last week and general availability at the end of November. Even though it hasn't yet been submitted, they are anticipating certification by the end of the year. Xirrus very recently shared some news regarding ongoing beta trials of their 802.11n product, having previously only shared an outline of their upgrade program. Xirrus??? PR representative shared that they are aiming for certification in the first quarter of 2008.
There???s no doubt that the vendors mentioned above, plus 3Com, Extricom, Motorola, and Siemens, will eventually get their product certified, but the Wi-Fi Alliance???s announcement this week is another data point that despite the years of anticipation through the IEEE committee and the months of vendor announcements, 802.11n is still in the very earliest of stages. Its one thing to go ahead with 802.11n product before the IEEE ratifies the standard, but to skip the Wi-Fi Alliance???s certification would appear unnecessarily risky. Even if you don't put much stock in the Alliance's certification process, it provides, at a minimum, a small indication of the vendor???s own confidence that their product market ready.