802.11n Gear to Get Seal of Approval

Wi-Fi wireless 802.11n

Eight laboratories across the globe -- including two in California, two in Japan, one in Spain and three in Taiwan -- began product testing Monday as part of the group's Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n draft 2.0 program.

The program checks pre-standard products for adherence to WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) security protocols and for backwards compatibility with other 802.11 a/b/g WLAN products that have already earned certification.

The IEEE's 802.11n standard for high-speed wireless LAN equipment isn't expected to be ratified until early 2009.

Pre-standard products that earn the certification are expected to hit stores this summer, ahead of the back-to-school rush, according to a statement from the Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit industry group that includes more than 300 companies among its membership.

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"With the launch of this certification program, the industry as a whole has come together to deliver the very best user experience p helping ensure that consumers and enterprises can purchase with confidence and make the most of advanced Wi-Fi technology today," said Frank Hanzlik, managing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, in the statement.

Products based on the draft version of the 802.11n standard promise to deliver up to five times the throughput and up to twice the range of those based on previous standards, the Wi-Fi Alliance said.