Wi-Fi group intros standards support stamp

From 'try mode' to tri-mode

The Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) has introduced a colour-coded logo for WLAN products - the better, it claims, to help punters distinguish between different Wi-Fi technologies.

Wi-Fi Alliance StampThe logo makes it clear which of the three Wi-Fi 'modes' - 802.11a, 802.11b or 802.11g - a given access point or adaptor supports.

Products carrying the logo have been certified by the WFA for their compatibility with other logo-sporting items. The stamp also inherently implies support for both Personal- and Enterprise-level Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), the security specification the WFA added to its certification programme last year.

In September, the WFA will begin certifying product for compliance with elements of the upcoming IEEE 802.11e quality-of-service standard, now not expected to be ratified until 2005. The WFA will tout its Wireless Multimedia Extensions (WME) certification in the autumn, and then follow it up with a second certified technology, Wireless Scheduled Media (WSM), when that part of the 802.11e becomes sufficiently stable for it to do so, sometime next year.

Together, WME plus WSM equal 802.11e.

September will also see the WFA begin to test for 802.11i compliance. WPA is a sub-set of 802.11i - it's all the elements that don't require hardware acceleration. But a number of manufacturers have been designing WPA-enabled products with 802.11i in mind, so WMA 2 certification - as the WFA will brand 802.11i - is likely to prove a rapid process. ®

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