When products based on the IEEE 802.11a spec begin to hit the market en masse, many vendors will seek the golden seal of interoperability certification from the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA).
When 802.11b products achieved this certification, they were given the name Wi-Fi. Products that achieve interoperability certification using the 802.11a spec, however, will now be called Wi-Fi5, primarily to differentiate them from the products based on the 802.b spec operating in the 2.4 GHz band at 11 Mbps. Wi-Fi5 products, as the name implies, operate in the 5 GHz band at speeds of up to 54 Mbps, according to the IEEE specification.
WECA chairman David Cohen stated that the announcement in advance of product releases gives consumers time to get used to calling the products Wi-Fi5 instead of 802.11a – at least for those 802.11a products that have, in fact, passed the WECA interoperability testing and achieved certification.
In a related announcement about the success of Wi-Fi in general, WECA reported that 200 Wi-Fi product certifications have been awarded to over 58 WECA member companies’ products since March of 2000. Products that are Wi-Fi certified have undergone independent testing at Agilent’s Interoperability Certification Lab (ICL). WECA explained that testing usually takes 2 to 4 days to complete. WECA itself is a nonprofit organization formed in 1999 to certify interoperability between WLAN products based on the 802.11 specification. There are cuurently 124 total member companies in WECA, with 10 new member companies announced today including Above Cable, Digital Networks, Funk Software, Illuminet, Integrated Programmable Communications, Nova Technology, Quanta Computer, Service Factory, SOHOware, TOKO.
Matthew Peretz is Managing Editor of 802.11-Planet.com