For Sale: The Interoperability Test Bed

Citing demand from members, the Wi-Fi Alliance is making available a kit that contains all the access points and client cards used in the interoperability testing to get Wi-Fi certification. The Alliance won’t be selling the kits themselves, however — for that, they’ve turned to TerraWave Solutions of San Antonio, Texas.

Carter Burke, vice president of sales at TerraWave, says the kit will consist of the Alliance’s “recommended equipment list for 11a, b or g… they have a combination of test beds for testing combinations of 11a or 11g, what have you.

“In the past, if someone wanted to do testing, they got an equipment list and had to procure [test bed products] from the different vendors. Very time consuming for the test labs, because they had to make the relationships and acquire products from a large number of companies.”

TerraWave will take care of that for the customers — the Alliance paved the way for TerraWave to get in touch with the vendors who make the current crop of test bed products. The reseller will also make sure all the equipment in the kit is set with drivers and firmware that match what’s in the official bed used for Alliance certifications.

Customers will likely be a mix of Wi-Fi equipment manufacturers looking to pre-test their products before spending the money on the Wi-Fi certification testing, plus testing facilities doing pre-certification testing. Not just anyone off the street can buy this test bed kit, however. Burke calls the program a “closed channel” of customers: TerraWave won’t be selling the kit to anyone that isn’t an Alliance member. They must first have approval from the Alliance.

The actual combinations of products in the test beds won’t be made public knowledge, nor will the Alliance or TerraWave talk about pricing.

The Wi-Fi Alliance is an industry consortium of over 200 companies that make products using 802.11 technology. Since its inception, the Alliance has put its certification stamp on the outside packaging of 1250 tested products.

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