Products supporting 802.11 draft-n speeds have been on the market for a while now. Routers, PC cards, and USB adapters have been hitting the market that were based on the draft-n specification for well over a year.
The IEEE finally ratified the 802.11n specification this summer leading the way for more products to come to market and the dropping of the draft-n moniker. Many of the existing products on the market that were draft-n complaint were named as 802.11n compliant the day the final specifications were ratified.
The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced a new updated Wi-Fi Certified n program that introduces new logos and taglines for 802.11n products. "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n builds on the success of our draft-n certification program and marks a point of maturity in 802.11n technology," said Wi-Fi Alliance executive director Edgar Figueroa. "Our expanded testing and branding program helps ensure the best user experience in the context of the Wi-Fi industry's continued innovation and the evolving landscape of products implementing next-generation Wi-Fi."
The Wi-Fi Certified N program maintains the requirements set forth in the draft of the specification and adds some new specifications for optional features. The optional features include support for simultaneous transmission of three spatial streams, A-MPDU packet aggregation for more efficient data transfers, STBC for multiple antenna encoding for better reliability, and channel coexistence when used in the 40MHz operation of the 2.4GHz band.
The new logo is longer and shows all the protocols that the device supports going back to early versions of Wi-Fi. With the new certification program, some devices with certain features that pass tests will be able to be labeled as "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED dual-stream n" or "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED multi-stream n."
"Given the wide array of 802.11n devices now emerging, and their varying capabilities, the launch of an updated Wi-Fi certification program is an important next step for the industry," said Victoria Fodale, senior analyst and market intelligence manager at In-Stat. "Wi-Fi Alliance's leadership, through testing and the updated branding and labeling, will continue to help users have the best experience with advanced Wi-Fi technology."