The Wi-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit organization 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, has announced that Wi-Fi interoperability certification testing will begin on Nov. 29th for 5 GHz IEEE 802.11a-based products.
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Testing will be conducted at the organization’s San Jose, California interoperability testing laboratory. The laboratory will begin accepting products into the testing queue on October 18, 2002.
There are IEEE 802.11 a, b, and g standards. The IEEE 802.11b wireless networking standard is known by a variety of names, including Wi-Fi and, to we Mac users, AirPort. See our June 5 article for an explanation of 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g differences — and what they mean to Mac users.
The Wi-Fi Alliance began interoperability testing of IEEE 802.11b based products in March 2000. The 802.11a interoperability testing has been initiated because a basic requirement of the Wi-Fi Alliance has been met — the availability of multiple products based on a second IEEE 802.11a chip set, according to Sarosh Vesuna, Wi-Fi Alliance Technical Committee Chairman. The announcement of a second chip set was made in mid-April of this year and products were available for testing two months later.
The availability of products allowed the Wi-Fi Alliance to develop the interoperability “benchmark” test bed, which is the reference that all products are tested against. There are currently four access points and five station cards from seven different manufacturers based on three different chip sets in the benchmark test bed. Products that pass the certification will be granted the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED seal of interoperability.
As we reported on Oct. 1, the Wi-Fi Alliance recently changed its name from the former moniker, the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance, or WECA. The group also announced a new Web site. Founded in 1999, the Wi-Fi Alliance has more than 140 members, including Apple, and lists more than 300 compatible Wi-Fi products.