Wi-Fi Alliance certifies 802.11g standard

The Wi-Fi Alliance, following successful interoperability testing, has put its stamp of approval on the first batch of products based on the new 802.11g wireless Internet standard.

This is the fourth Wi-Fi product certification developed by the alliance since it began its interoperability testing program in March 2000, the group of wireless equipment vendors said Tuesday in a statement.

Previous certification programs were for products based on the 802.11a and 802.b standards, including dual-band products, approved by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), as well as the group's own Wi-Fi Protected Access. To date, nearly 800 products from 110 companies have received Wi-Fi certification.

The new 802.11g standard lays out the ground rules for WLAN (wireless LAN) gear that is capable of at least 24M bps (bits per second) and up to 54M bps, while remaining backward compatible with existing 802.11b gear that runs at a maximum 11M bps. Both use radio spectrum in the 2.4GHz radio band. Another standard, 802.11a, defines 54M bps gear in the 5GHz range.

The alliance's certification of 802.11g was expected to follow shortly after the IEEE Standards Board Review Committee approved the specification in June.

What the certification means to users is significant; products that have passed interoperability tests are compatible with one another.

The growing number of amendments to IEEE's family of 802.11 wireless Internet standards and vendors' use of different chipsets within the same product line have created a need for interoperability testing and certification, the Wi-Fi Alliance said.

Interoperability testing of the 802.11g products included four access points and four PC cards, based on chipsets from four different silicon suppliers:

-- Atheros Communication Inc.'s AR5001X+ Universal 802.11a/b/g Wireless Network Adapter

-- Broadcom Corp.'s 54g

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