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Wi-Fi Alliance To Certify 802.11n?
By: MarkJ - 29 August, 2006 (1:58 PM)

Early products based on the draft 802.11n (next-generation Wi-Fi) specification are to be certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance during March 2007. The move is unusual because it will come a year before the IEEE has made it an official standard:

Devices will be tested for conformance to the draft standard, and for interoperability, which have been the major concerns of buyers to date. Anyone buying 802.11n kit today is wise to stick to one manufacturer, or risk compatibility problems, and this has prevented large scale uptake of the technology.

Apparently, the Wi-Fi Alliance is "hoping" that equipment certified to the draft standard will be compatible with equipment conforming to the final version, though it offers no guarantee, and that might not be enough for corporate buyers.

Of course, if pre-standard but certified equipment becomes popular enough, the final standard will have to be compatible or risk becoming sidelined.

The IEEE has often been criticised for its slow performance, yet 'certifying' any un-finalised products in this manor could mislead the public into thinking that they are buying "standards" based hardware.

The Register notes that the move could force the IEEE into re-evaluating its position in the wireless industry. Why have it if everybody ignores the process?

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