Wi-Fi Alliance starts certifying 802.11ac devices
The Wi-Fi Alliance this week announced the launch of its "Wi-Fi Certified ac" program, marking another milestone in the evolution of the Wi-Fi wireless standard. The move is significant, as the full 802.11ac standard is still months away from final ratification, but products based on the draft standard have already been arriving on the market.
Enterprise-level products include an 802.11ac module released by Cisco Systems for its Aironet 3600 Series access point, and the Aruba 220 Series of access pointt that was released in May. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) also added 802.11ac into the new MacBook Air laptops that started shipping last week. The certification process will serve to ensure that these devices will interoperate with each other, as well as with other wireless products released in the past.
As reported by PCWorld, the Wi-Fi Alliance launched a similar certification program in 2007 for Wi-Fi equipment based on the draft 802.11n standard. In this instance, equipment that is certified will simply be known as "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ ac" with no mention of the standard's draft status.
802.11ac will work on both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. The former is the top choice for demanding high-bandwidth or streaming applications, and the latter for more basic requirements. For now, a list of products that have achieved certification can be found here.