Look For The Wi-Fi Label

By ISP-Planet Staff

January 09, 2002

In a year with few business bright spots, one group notes that 2001 was a spectacular time for major developments in the wireless networking equipment industry.

Tasked with heralding interoperable wireless technologies, the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) reports that 232 Wi-Fi product certifications have been awarded to 61 member companies since March of 2000.

WECA Chairman Dennis Eaton said the continued growth in certifications indicates that Wi-Fi is the world's dominant wireless LAN technology.

"There is no secret formula behind Wi-Fi's success," Eaton said. "We started out with an open standard that many companies from around the world helped to develop. That certainly took some time, but it built a tremendous amount of consensus and commitment from these companies toward developing products that work together and makes them a safe buy for technology consumers."

Eaton cites that the alliance's certification efforts played a major role in developing Wi-Fi interoperability standards.

"Not only do we have broad commitment to Wi-Fi from over 60 companies producing Wi-Fi-certified gear, but over a dozen companies have six or more Wi-Fi-certified products," Eaton said. "We are also seeing an expansion in the types of devices certified; from the original PC Card and access point to now include mPCI-embedded devices, USB clients and Wi-Fi wireless LAN print servers."

Part and parcel
WECA is a nonprofit organization formed in 1999 to certify interoperability of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) and Wi-Fi5 (IEEE 802.11a) products and to promote them as the global, wireless LAN standards across all market segments. Membership is open to all companies that support the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi5 standards. The alliance currently consists of 140 members that offer Wi-Fi-certified gear, including 16 new members:

Eaton said that these new members add to an already strong roster of the wireless LAN equipment makers and indicated the future is future for the burgeoning technology.

"The latest companies to join WECA are from a range of industries that include consumer electronics, office automation and fabless semiconductor manufacturers," Eaton said. "These new members add to an already strong roster of Wi-Fi manufacturers and point to Wi-Fi as the emerging technology of choice for wireless Internet access."

WECA has instituted a test suite that defines how member products are can certify that they are interoperable with other Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi5-certified products. These tests are conducted at an independent laboratory. Products awarded the Wi-Fi logo have undergone strict, rigorous at Agilent's Interoperability Certification Labs (ICL). Testing usually takes two to four days per product to complete. ICL has built a reputation for providing objective, high-quality performance, interoperability and functional testing services.



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