GeekSpeak: October 28, 2002

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2002-10-28 Print this article Print

WECA becomes Wi-Fi Alliance, starts 802.11a testing.

The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance, the main marketing and testing body for wireless LAN standards, became the Wi-Fi Alliance Oct. 1. A week later, the group announced that interoperability certification testing for 5GHz 802.11a-based products will begin next month—and none too soon. Atheros Communications, Intersil and other companies 802.11a chip sets are in shipping products. Tests of the high-speed 5GHz 802.11a-compatible devices will lay the groundwork for dual-band 802.11a and 802.11b devices, Wi-Fi Alliance officials said.

Official Wi-Fi Alliance interoperability should be high on IT managers checklists for wireless product purchases because vendors differentiate wireless products based on "extended" features that may prevent them from fully cooperating. Organizations that already have 802.11a gear should pester Atheros for firmware upgrades to ensure these products meet Wi-Fi interoperability standards, which are expected in the first quarter of next year.

With a fight brewing between 802.11a and 802.11g to be the high-capacity, 54M-bps de facto standard, IT managers should keep an eye on the interoperability tests to make sure that equipment purchased today can support network traffic tomorrow.

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant is the executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Prior to ENP, Cameron was technical analyst at PCWeek Labs, starting in 1997. Cameron finished up as the eWEEK Labs Technical Director in 2012. Before his extensive labs tenure Cameron paid his IT dues working in technical support and sales engineering at a software publishing firm . Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his analysis is grounded in real-world concern. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at

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