Wi-Fi group eyeing massive certification of products by year's end

The Wi-Fi Alliance, worried about incompatibilities among next-generation routers and network cards, will start certifying products next year without waiting for the completion of technical standards, an Associated Press report said.

The report quoted Frank Hanzlik, managing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, as saying that without a certification program, the market could have been fragmented by the growing number and variety of pre-standard "Draft N" or "Pre-N" products claiming faster speeds and greater range.

The products take their names from the upcoming 802.11n standard.

As early as a month ago, the alliance, which ensured Wi-Fi products from different companies worked together, indicated it would not certify the interoperability of the pre-N products, the report said.

But delays within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the professional association that shepherded the standards process, prompted the Wi-Fi Alliance to rethink, Hanzlik said.

Currently, the IEEE was working on integrating thousands of comments and edits to a draft standard, the report said.

Hanzlik said he expected to use the next version of the draft for testing and certification, but that if the IEEE remained bogged down, the Wi-Fi Alliance would still go ahead with the plan to certify products in the first half of 2007.

Then, when the IEEE approves a final 802.11n standard, not expected until March 2008, the alliance would conduct a second phase of testing, the report further said.