'We will certify pre-standard IEEE 802.11n products by 2007'

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit industry association with over 275 members

worldwide has arrived in India with a Wi-Fi pre-certification lab set up at the

Wipro Campus, Bangalore. Frank Hanzlik, managing director, Wi-Fi Alliance talks

about his plans in India, and the roadmap ahead for Wi-Fi products


How significant is the setting up of the pre-certification lab by Wipro

for Wi-Fi Alliance members in India?

We are very excited to partner with Wipro for setting up the

pre-certification Lab in India. This also marks Wi-Fi Alliance's first

presence in India. Many of our members rely on pre-certification testing as an

important step in the quality assurance process. The Wipro lab will replicate

the Wi-Fi Alliance test beds and test plans to allow for engineering feedback

and more customized analysis than is permitted during formal Wi-Fi certification

testing. This lab will go a long way to benefit a large number of multinational

companies that are Wi-Fi Alliance members, who are based in India, especially in


How does this lab differ from other labs?

Besides Wipro Lab in India we have two pre-certification labs: in the US and

in Taiwan. Although size-wise and function-wise the labs are similar, the three

labs are distinct in nature of their affiliation.

For instance, the US-based pre-certification lab is at the University of

Hampshire, where it carries out interoperability testing and has a more academic

angle. The Taiwan-based one is part of the Taiwanese Government's initiative

to promote technology development within that region, especially Taipei. It thus

has a more government related purpose to support the ecosystem of wireless


The Wipro Lab in India, on the other hand, is more commercially rated than

the other two as it leverages Wipro's current portfolio of testing services.

Wipro's expertise and facility will be an excellent addition to our worldwide

lab presence, serving global members and not just from the APAC region.


With cities like Bangalore and Pune planning to go wireless, what advice

do you have for the authorities?

It is exciting to see that a lot has been happening with city wireless

initiatives across the world. I would suggest that the first consideration must

be to leverage benchmarking, see what others are doing. Try to understand how

that may create a set of options related to the value you are trying to offer.

One must identify the purpose of unwiring cities and what you are trying to

accomplish. Whether it is to provide more cost effective wireless data for

industry workers or services or to serve as an economic development project for

certain parts of the city. It could also be to expand wireless internet

broadband service. Then it is easier to leverage some of the world benchmarks.

One of the key things that makes it a successful project is having a good

partnership with technology companies or organizations. We have seen good

examples of how cities are growing by choosing the right partners that have core

competencies in wireless technologies, infrastructure planning etc.

A significant step taken by the Wi-Fi Alliance is the decision to certify

pre-standard IEEE 802.11n products by next year. Can you tell us more about it?

We are extremely excited to announce our plans to certify interoperability

of Wi-Fi products that include baseline features from the developing IEEE

802.11n standard in the first half of 2007. Although the standard is not

expected to be ratified till 2008, we felt that pre-standard products are

reaching a level of maturity and there is enough market uptake, and so, a

certification program makes sense for the industry. This is the first phase in

the certification program of the next generation of Wi-Fi products. A second

phase brings full alignment with the ratified standard. This two-phase approach

balances our longstanding commitment to standards-based technology with the

current market need for product interoperability certification.

We reckon

that consumer electronics development will revolve around Wi-Fi, and we

are certain that data transfer at 150-600 Mbps is quite possible with

Wi-Fi in the near future

What are the next generation Wi-Fi products on the anvil?

One exciting development is the appearance of phones with Wi-Fi. All major

handset manufacturers have demonstrated their commitment and are ready to ship

phones with Wi-Fi. Fortunately this feature is not restricted to only smart

phones, it is also extended to mainstream phones, both on high-end and mid

categories. We reckon that consumer electronics development will revolve around

Wi-Fi, which enhances power saving capabilities, and ensures fast connectivity

and security. We are seeing Wi-Fi combined with quite a few gaming devices,

cameras and video streaming devices. All gaming companies: Sony, Nintendo,

Microsoft have packaged Wi-Fi as an integral part of their gaming platforms to

enable networking and multiplayer gaming-getting rid of the cord. Looking at

the roadmap, we are certain that data transfer at 150-600 Mbps is quite possible

with Wi-Fi in the near future.

When can we expect certified Wi-Fi convergence phones?

We have certified 15 mobile phones so far, of which half are Wi-Fi phones

and about half are Wi-Fi convergence phones. Top handset manufacturers like

Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Philips, etc are ready with certified Wi-Fi

convergence phones. So before the end of this year, we may see some of the first

commercial launches of some FMC phones, perhaps by the likes of British Telecom.

However, it still has a long way to go. In few cases, these phones are being

offered by carriers, so they are part of a bundled solution. While in many

places they are not yet an integrated package and are optional for the

consumers, considered a low-key offering.

What is the Alliance working on to enhance security features for Wi-Fi

enabled devices?

One of the key projects Wi-Fi Alliance is working on is a one-touch Wi-Fi

security feature called Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). This feature is designed to

ease installation and activation of security features on a network to improve

the home Wi-Fi user's experience. We hope this feature will change the Wi-Fi

world, in a similar way as Apple has transformed MP3 players with the iPod. WPS

is a common framework that will allow Wi-Fi home user to set up network security

with great ease, irrespective of devices or manufacturers. We have enabled a

common framework that will allow security to set up at the touch of a button for

any of the Wi-Fi devices and the user doesn't have to worry about the

compatibility issue. WPS automatically configures and senses the companion

devices, or what kind of security level is required. We will rollout the first

stage of WPS hopefully in Q4 this year.

Malovika Rao