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Hands off our brand, Wi-Fi body warns 'white space' tech firms

TV spectrum networking != 802.11

Wi-Fi Alliance

Don't call wireless networks that operate at frequencies formerly reserved for TV transmissions "Wi-Fi", the owner of the brand has warned.

The Wi-Fi Alliance doesn't like the idea that chip makers and other tech companies promoting products that operate in the electromagnetic spectrum's "White Space" zones are pitching their offerings as the next major incarnation of Wi-Fi.

Using the Wi-Fi brand for such uses, the organisation reckons, will just confuse folk because they won't necessarily work with all the official 802.11a, b, g and n-based kit out there.

More to the point, the trade body said, we own the trademark.

White Space comprises bands used to host analogue TV transmissions. As the telly world goes digital, less use is being made of these spaces, and in many countries will soon be empty as analogue broadcasts come to an end.

"There is currently no Wi-Fi technology that operates in this spectrum,” said the Wi-Fi Alliance's Kelly Davis-Felner.

Microsoft, for one, is looking at ways to get 802.11 running in the white space band.

The next generation of Wi-Fi will, if anything, be 802.11ac.

The potentially spermicidal technology behind Wi-Fi uses the IEEE 802.11 standard, but while firms are free to implement it, they can't use the Wi-Fi brand without the Alliance's say-so. It is keen to ensure the name doesn't become a generic term for 'wireless network'. ®

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