Wi-Fi Alliance to certify draft 802.11n products

The Wi-Fi Alliance will begin certifying 802.11n products--an audacious move, considering that the standard itself has not yet been finalized. The typically cautious, go-by-the-book organization has decided to take this step in an effort to head off interoperability issues likely to emerge as more and more companies rush to offer pre-802.11n, or draft-802.11n, gear. Rushing to market before standards were finalized has happened before, but the advantages of 802.11n over its predecessors are such that companies have an even greater incentive to do so, in an effort to capture as much of the market as possible as early as possible.

The 802.11n standard was supposed to be finalized by 2007, but it now appears that 2008 is a more realistic date for completion. Most observers welcomed the Alliance's unusual move. Dave Borison, director of product management at 802.11n pioneer Airgo Networks said: "I think it will shepherd the whole industry forward...Right now, it's chaos. Consumers have no idea if they are buying products that can be upgraded or if they will work with other certified Wi-Fi gear."

For more on the Wi-Fi Alliances' 802.11n move:
- see Stephanie Neil's Managing Automation report
- and Michael Thuresson's NEAsiaonline discussion

MORE: MetaLink will be demonstrating its WLANPlus 802.11n draft technology at the IBC show in Amsterdam next month. Report

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