Wi-Fi Alliance bows to market need for early 802.11n product

It is increasingly obvious that standards processes are falling hopelessly behind the real time to market needs of vendors. In WiMAX and, particularly, Wi-Fi, markets suppliers are pre-empting ratified standards by ever longer margins. Initially, as with the 54Mbps 802.11g Wi-Fi system and with 802.16d, 'pre-standard' products were built to the finalized IEEE specification, but had not yet achieved any independent certification of this.

But the pre-standard products for the 100Mbps-plus 802.11n Wi- Fi extension are coming even earlier, over a year before the standard is likely to be set in stone, creating serious interoperability and performance risks for buyers. Last year the Wi-Fi Alliance took a tough line on such devices, saying it would take action against companies using the '802.11n' ahead of certification.

Now it is bowing to the inevitable and agreeing to certify a wave of prestandard products itself, a realistic move given the rush of fast Wi- Fi offerings into the market, but raising serious doubts over the future role of the IEEE and other such bodies. The Alliance's plan to have a two-stage certification process will not affect the current 'pre-n' equipment that is being launched by consumer WLAN suppliers such as Linksys and Belkin, but will be introduced in 2007 to coincide with draft 2 of the standard, currently under review.

View: The full story
News source: The Reg

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