Apple is already using IEEE 802.11g technology in its AirPort Extreme products, but the standard is still in a state of flux. The Wi-Fi Alliance today announced that it will begin certifying 802.11g products once the IEEE has approved the final specification.
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The Wi-Fi Alliance (once known as WECA) is a non-profit organization formed to certify interoperability of products based on the family of IEEE 802.11 specifications. The organization sports over 200 members, including Apple.
Wi-Fi Alliance chairman Dennis Eaton said that his organization has started development of the certification program even though the standard isn’t yet finalized to make sure that interoperability tests are ready once the standard is locked. “Wireless LAN product interoperability is fundamental to a good user experience,” said Eaton.
Eaton said that the Wi-Fi Alliance recognizes that devices based on the 802.11g draft amendment — such as AirPort Extreme products — are going to be increasingly used, but he was careful to note that the Wi-Fi Alliance will only certify products once the standard amendment is approved.
The Wi-Fi Alliance said that it would certify mandatory features like backward compatibility with 802.11b products and simultaneous operation of 802.11b and 802.11g devices in a mixed network, and optional features including support for the 54Mbps data rate. Apple’s AirPort Extreme products possess these capabilities. Devices that pass muster with the Wi-Fi Alliance’s certification process will be able to use new labeling to identify them accordingly.