The building blocks of enterprise-grade Wi-Fi®: An overview of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ programs for the enterprise (2012)

Wi-Fi® deployments in the enterprise market have grown tremendously in the last decade in size, complexity and role within the overall IT infrastructure. The Wi-Fi Alliance® has taken a leadership role to spearhead the expanding role of Wi-Fi in the enterprise by developing certification programs that deliver interoperability and help ensure that certified products meet performance requirements for enterprise applications.

Wi‑Fi CERTIFIED™ interoperability certification programs enable IT managers to deploy multivendor solutions across a range of Wi-Fi–enabled user and infrastructure equipment. In addition to certification programs for radio interoperability, the Wi-Fi Alliance has released a series of certification programs to extend the functionality of Wi-Fi in order to meet enterprise requirements for voice and video applications, mission critical services, secure connectivity, quality of service (QoS) and bandwidth-intensive data transfers.

Wi-Fi Alliance certification programs include Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n for core performance (improved throughput and performance), Wi-Fi Protected Access® 2 (WPA2™) Enterprise (security), Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice‑Enterprise (voice services), Wi‑Fi Multimedia™ (WMM®) (QoS, video applications), WMM-Power Save (reduced power consumption), and WMM-Admission Control (advanced traffic management). To become Wi-Fi CERTIFIED, products must demonstrate protocol adherence and, in some cases, meet performance thresholds.

Over time these certifications have collectively built an encompassing blueprint for enterprise-grade Wi-Fi technology that continues to evolve in step with the growing needs of the enterprise. To make these technological advances widely and reliably available to the enterprise, the Wi-Fi Alliance is committed to developing new certification programs that will drive further applications and services for enterprise Wi‑Fi networks of the future.

By requiring adoption of enterprise-grade Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices and access points (APs), IT managers can be confident that complex multivendor Wi‑Fi networks will deliver the performance and functionality they need and the user experience their employees expect.

This paper presents the existing Wi-Fi certification programs that are specifically relevant to the enterprise, describes how the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Interoperability Certificate can assist in equipment selection, and discusses how Wi-Fi meets the enterprise requirements for throughput, dense deployments and voice/video traffic.

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