As we reported back in July, the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA), the group behind the testing and certification for interoperability of 802.11-based networking products, has officially changed its name. As of this week, it will be known only as the Wi-Fi Alliance.
The reason behind the change has to do with branding. The term “wireless Ethernet” never made it into regular usage like “wireless LANs (WLANs)” did, but, luckily for the former WECA, their term “Wi-Fi” did.
Wi-Fi has become synonymous with 802.11b networks and the Wi-Fi Alliance wants it to be used generically to include 802.11a networks, as well. As Wi-Fi Alliance chairman Dennis Eaton put it in the group’s announcement, “Wi-Fi has become such a globally recognized brand, and it is time that the organization’s name becomes consistent with the brand that it promotes.”
However, that’s not to say they want the term “Wi-Fi Certified” to be generic — that appellation and the accompanying logo is only for products that have gone through testing. So in other words, while all 802.11 products are Wi-Fi, not all are “Wi-Fi Certified.”
The Wi-Fi Alliance has also completely revamped the look of its Web site at www.wi-fi.org. It now sports a glossary of terms, WLAN setup overviews for different size networks (with diagrams), and a database of Wi-Fi Certified products that’s now searchable by company or product type (including items like Compact Flash adapters, residential gateway/routers, and wireless print servers).
Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.