In a fairly unusual move, the Wi-Fi Alliance said it will certify interoperability of 802.11n Wi-Fi products before the standard is completed and ratified.
The organization has commonly certified products after final ratification of previous versions of the Wi-Fi standard. It is also common for vendors to commercialize Wi-Fi products prior to final ratification, appending the prefix “pre-” to the 802.11x designation as an acknowledgment they’re jumping the gun.
The 802.11n version, which ups speeds to a theoretical maximum of 540 Mbps and a typical rate of 200 Mbps, wasn’t expected to be finished until the first half of 2007, but that was recently pushed back until sometime in early 2008.
The Alliance’s decision to certify pre-802.11n product is simply a nod to the impatience of vendors and, perhaps, the market. The organization cited analyst forecasts that tens of millions of pre-standard devices will ship in 2007.
Wi-Fi Alliance Managing Director Frank Hanzlik said baseline features of the standard are mature.
“While we are committed to supporting a full 802.11n standard when it is available, pre-standard products are reaching a level of maturity and there is enough market uptake that a certification program makes sense for the industry,” he said.