The Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) announced today that it has certified its 4,000th product. The ever-expanding list of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products includes a wide range of devices from access points to MP3 players to dual-mode phones. The WFA began certifying products in March of 2000, and has certified 1,000 in the last 15 months, a record number.
“The momentum is really exciting,” says Karen Hanley, senior director of the Wi-Fi Alliance. “We expect to see the rate of certification around the draft 802.11n to continue in a strong way. We’re seeing three times the rate of certification in these first months, versus the previous generation that we’ve certified.”
The WFA’s seal of approval was created to ensure industry-wide product interoperability and security. The WFA began certifying 802.11n draft 2.0 products in June. Since then, more than 125 802.11n draft 2.0 products have received certification.
“This is nearly three times the number of products certified for 802.11a/b/g in the first three months of their respective testing programs,” says Hanley. “802.11n draft 2.0 certifications are expected to continue as the rate of adoption for next-generation Wi-Fi technology increases.”
The dramatic increase in n draft products over previous iterations of 802.11 is the result, says Hanley, of the synergistic effect of several factors.
“We are starting from a much larger base,” she says. “There are 350 million Wi-Fi users around the world. The industry continues to grow very quickly, so there are an increasing number of products looking for certification. The consumer interest and the enterprise interest are driving a lot of that.”
Hanley expects this rate of growth to continue.
“ABI Research is estimating more than one billion chipsets in 2012 per year. It’s kind of the proxy that we follow for the growth of the industry.”
The WFA is a member organization, which currently includes 320 members. Certification testing is conducted by an independent lab network with 12 labs in eight regions around the globe.
“The labs are independent from us, but authorized by us,” says Hanley. “Products go to those labs and go through the testing. At the core of it, is the interoperability test. Part of the testing is to ensure that your product will work with my product. We have a number of other category-specific certifications, but the core interoperability for a/b/g/n and the security are the most fundamental.”
According to brand studies conducted by the WFA in the US, China, the UK, and Japan, 70% of consumers are aware of the Wi-Fi certified logo.
The 4,000th Wi-Fi CERTIFIED product was Z-Com’s 802.11n draft 2.0 Wireless LAN USB Adapter.
Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-FiPlanet.