802.11a to Enter Testing

By Eric Griffith

October 09, 2002

The Wi-Fi Alliance that the long delayed certification testing of 802.11a for Wi-Fi interoperability will begin in November in California.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit organization behind the testing and certification for interoperability of 802.11-based networking products, reports that as of November 29, 2002, the long delayed certification testing of 802.11a products for Wi-Fi interoperability will commence.

Products using the 5GHz band for 802.11a wireless networks have been shipping based on Atheros chipsets since late in 2001, so why the hold up? The Wi-Fi Alliance says a basic requirement before they'll test is the "availability of multiple products based on a second IEEE 802.11a chipset."

More chipsets allows them to build an adequate test bed with which to check interoperability. In this case, the Wi-Fi Alliance has products from seven different hardware vendors (five network cards and four access points ) against which all submitted products are benchmarked.

Testing will take place in the Wi-Fi Alliance's San Jose, CA, interoperability testing facility. Companies that wish to have their 802.11a products tested can begin submitting them to the laboratory as of October 18.

This is not to say that testing will begin at the same time on dual-band products that run an 802.11a/b combination. In the announcement, Sarosh Vesuna, Wi-Fi Alliance Technical Committee Chairman, says this simply "provides the foundation for the dual band product interoperability testing" that is still to come.

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