Wi-Fi Alliance Breaks Ranks On 802.11n Testing - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Wi-Fi Alliance Breaks Ranks On 802.11n Testing

The decision to speed up the testing process for 802.11n specification equipment was made because of expected delays in the IEEE's ratification process.



LONDON — Broadcom has welcomed the decision taken by the Wi-Fi Alliance to speed up the testing process for 802.11n specification equipment despite the fact that the high data-rate wireless technology is still undergoing standardization within the IEEE.

The timetable, a break from usual practice, was announced by the Alliance Tuesday (Aug 29) because of the expected delays in the IEEE's ratification process.

Certification is expected to start in March 2007 once the draft standard has been approved, and the process will be updated once the full standard has been ratified within the IEEE's delayed procedure.

"This two-phase approach balances our longstanding commitment to standards-based technology with the current market need for product interoperability certification," said Wi-Fi Alliance Managing Director Frank Hanzlik. "While we are committed to supporting a full 802.11n standard when it is available, pre-standard products are reaching a level of maturity and there is enough market uptake that a certification program makes sense for the industry."

Hanzlik said it was crucial that the group keeps up the momentum towards industry acceptance of the fast data rate wireless LAN.

The standard was supposed to be finalized by early next year, but the Alliance has reluctantly accepted that will not happen until probably 2008.

In the meantime, chip companies such as Broadcom and Atheros have been shipping chip sets since the draft was approved in January, and OEMs have developed a wide range of pre-standard 802.11n gear.

"The ratified IEEE 802.11n is likely to include a larger set of features and will be a fully-reviewed standard," Hanzlik added. "We believe the maturity of the baseline features in the pre-standard certification diminishes the risk that products won't comply with IEEE 802.11n when it is ratified."

A 2.0 version of the 802.11n draft standard is now being prepared after the first vote in May by members of the IEEE 802.11 working group on Draft 1.0 failed to reach the 75 percent majority required for acceptance.

Just days earlier, several vendors targeting the next-generation wireless-LAN standard went on the defensive after the first tests of draft IEEE 802.11n clients and routers indicated poorer-than-expected performance, a lack of interoperability and, in one case, inadequate security. The chip and equipment companies questioned the testing methods, saying they suspected preproduction systems and software versions had been used, and quoted higher performance numbers based on their own tests.

In the past, the Alliance has generally only done interoperability testing on fully-ratified 802.11 standards. One major exception was on the subset of the 802.11i security standard under the moniker of Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). Once 802.11i was finished, it revised it to WPA2. Hanzlik says the Alliance's 11n plans will follow that pattern.

Just as earlier this year when it started shipping chipsets days after the draft standard was approved, Broadcom was quick off the mark responding to the move.

"Broadcom is pleased that the Wi-Fi Alliance has revised its certification plans to meet the needs of consumers adopting draft-N products. The move reflects the significance of draft-N products in today's Wi-Fi marketplace and validates the maturity of the draft specification on which these products are built," the chip maker said in a statement.

"By certifying the interoperability between draft-N products and those based on the final standard, the WFA is providing consumers with confidence to purchase next-generation Wi-Fi devices today. While fully supporting the development of the Wi-Fi Alliance's draft-N testing program, Broadcom will continue working with other Wi-Fi vendors to ensure interoperability in the interim," the statement added.

Airgo Networks, the company that pioneered the MIMO technology that is the basis of the merging 802.11n standard, also welcomed the decision to certify pre-standard products.

According to Dave Borison, the director of product marketing at Airgo, the decision will "eliminate the chaos."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
News
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
Slideshows
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
News
Northwestern Mutual CIO: Riding Out the Pandemic
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/7/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll