& cplSiteName &

Certification Fallout

Nearpoints
Nearpoints
Nearpoints
9/5/2006
50%
50%

12:20 PM -- The Wi-Fi Alliance ’s controversial decision to produce an interoperability spec based on the next draft of 802.11n is exactly what they should be doing. (See WiFi's High-Speed Compromise.) I’ve been hearing and reading about a fundamental criticism that seems justified at first glance -- that the Alliance is working around the standards process that it was initially formed to augment. But the Wi-Fi Alliance isn’t an arm of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) , and in reality there is no necessary relationship between the two.

The Alliance is a trade association. By definition, trade associations exist to look out for the common interests of their members, who usually are otherwise competitors. The core missions of a trade association are typically the marketing and promotion of a concept or technology, lobbying to improve the regulatory environment, and specifying interoperability where appropriate. That’s exactly what the Alliance does, and they have done an absolutely stellar job of it. The Wi-Fi Alliance is in fact a textbook example of what a trade association should be.

The Alliance was, in fact, formed to capitalize on the lack of an interoperability specification regarding 802.11. The IEEE typically doesn’t get involved in such matters and leaves the definition of interoperability to third parties -- like trade associations. But note that the Wi-Fi Alliance has no real relationship to the IEEE, and can specify anything it wants. The WiFi Spec (what one meets to be able to put the sticker on a product’s box) is actually a subset of 802.11; it’s not a compliance, conformance, or compatibility verification of any form regarding 802.11.

As it turns out, many of the leading members of the Alliance got themselves into a serious pickle by butchering the announcement of “draft n,” again, whatever that means. The products are generally not interoperable between vendors, not as good as the previous generation of MIMO-based WLAN products in terms of performance, and, perhaps most importantly with respect to our discussion here, not WiFi approved. The Alliance was in fact in danger of losing control of the market if they did not act to put in place an interim spec, especially in light of the serious delays in the formal development of 802.11n.

I’d urge the Alliance, however, not to call whatever it is they produce “draft n” or anything else with a standalone “n” in the name. They should not get bogged down in issues like upgradeability. Call it “super-duper better than .11g,” or some such, but leave out any reference to “n.” And here’s hoping the vendors of “draft n” will cool their marketing jets a little as well.

— Craig Mathias is Principal Analyst at the Farpoint Group , an advisory firm specializing in wireless communications and mobile computing. Special to Unstrung

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
lrmobile_rusty
50%
50%
lrmobile_rusty,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:42:08 AM
re: Certification Fallout
As you correctly point out, the Wi-Fi Alliance is designed to help vendors sell products and help consumers understand which products work with others. Leaving out "N" would be irresponsible on both counts. There is already great awareness about the "N" standard and "N" products offering higher speeds, so at this point "N" has to be included in the name of the certification.
More Blogs from Nearpoints
And change its name, too
A great truth, again
And you thought it wouldn't fit
Featured Video
From The Founder
The 'gleaming city on a hill,' Steve Saunders calls it. But who is going to take us from today's NFV componentry to the grand future of a self-driving network? Here's a look at the vendors hoping to make it happen.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue – London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Could 5G Have Found Its Glass Ceiling?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/20/2017
1 Million Pirate Set-Top Boxes Sold in the UK
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 9/20/2017
Comcast Shuts Down OTT Again
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/19/2017
Photo Highlights: Operations Transformation Forum 2017
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 9/17/2017
WiCipedia: Endangered Species, 'the Pao Effect' & Bad Actors
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 9/22/2017
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed