Wi-Fi Alliance reflects on milestone
The Wi-Fi Alliance announced a milestone this week, having certified 5,000 consumer and enterprise products since its testing program began more than eight years ago.
But the group says it’s not resting on its laurels. It has been certifying more products and doing it faster, and products are becoming more diversified, according to Kelly Davis-Felner, director of marketing.
Compared with the same period last year, the Alliance saw a 33 percent increase in the number of mobile phones, and a 67 percent increase in consumer electronics coming into its facilities. Consumer electronics products include non-adapter card types of devices, such as printers, cameras and gaming devices.
Since the Apple iPhone came out, end-users are much more aware of what Wi-Fi brings to the handset, she said.
The Wi-Fi Alliance uses 13 independent labs worldwide to test products. So far, it has certified 438 products for 802.11n, even though the standard is still being finalized. Certification is based on a mature draft of the upcoming standard, and 80 percent of the work already has been done. The program will be updated with the final version once the standard is ratified, she said.
Most handsets right now, including the iPhone, use 802.11g, which provides more speed and throughput than what users would find on a 3G network.
Research performed by Millward-Brown for the Wi-Fi Alliance indicates that the Wi-Fi Certified designation is often a deciding factor when users purchase Wi-Fi products. In the U.S., the U.K., China, India and Japan, a majority of broadband users who are familiar with the Wi-Fi Certified mark indicated a willingness to pay up to 10 percent more for products that carry the seal of approval.
Apparently, the testing procedures are tough enough. About one in four products fail the first time they come in for testing, Davis-Felner said.
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