802.11a Products Get Certified

By Eric Griffith

January 16, 2003

The first wave of 5GHz Wi-Fi products have received interoperability certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance, including a dual-band CardBus adapter reference design.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit industry consortium behind the testing of 802.11-based networking products for interoperability, today announced the first wave of certified products that run in the 5GHz band using the 802.11a standard.

Among the certified products is also the first every Wi-Fi okayed dual-band: the AR5001X CardBus Reference Design Board from chipmaker Atheros. While this means products using the Atheros board will likely pass future testing, all individual products have to go through the Wi-Fi Alliance testing process again before they can use the certification seal of interoperability on packaging.

The 802.11a-only products in this certification round include:

  • Atheros AR5001AP Reference Design Access Point Model AR5BAP 00021A
  • Cisco Aironet 1200 Series Access Point Model AIR-AP1220A
  • Cisco Aironet 5GHz WLAN Adapter Model AIR-CB20A
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 5000 LAN CardBus Adapter Model WCB 5000
  • Intermec MobileLAN Access Point Model 2106
  • Intersil Indigo Station Card Model ISL 37703C
  • Proxim ORiNOCO 5GHz Kit with the AP-2000 Access Point

Each of these products is now okayed to carry the "Wi-Fi Certified" logo on its packaging. The seal will include a check box marking them as "5 GHz Band 54Mbps." (A dual-band retail product would have a second check, next to "2.4 GHz Band 11Mbps.")

This certification, testing for which began on November 29, 2002, comes over a year after the first 802.11a based products shipped to market. The delay in certification was caused by a lack of reference products for use by the independent laboratory in San Jose, CA used by the Alliance for testing.

There are currently over 500 Wi-Fi Certified products using the 2.4GHz 802.11b standard. However, 2.4GHz 802.11g-based products, which have almost five times the throughput of 802.11b, have now begun to show up on store shelves. No word on when testing by the Alliance for these products will begin -- it's likely they won't begin until the 802.11g specification has been ratified by the IEEE . Current 11g product are based on the draft for the standard.



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