WECA Applauds IEEE Ratification Of High-Speed Additions To Wireless LAN Standard

September 30, 1999 - The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA), today applauded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) ratification of two high-speed additions to the 802.11 wireless LAN standard. 802.11b, also known as "Wi-Fi", crosses the 10 Mbps Ethernet threshold and is available in commercial products today. This standard supports data rates in the 2.4 GHz radio band that run at 11 Mbps. Looking to the future, the 802.11a standard paves a way for next generation wireless LAN products by providing for data rates up to 54 Mbps in the 5 GHz band. Products based on this standard are expected to be commercially available in 2001.

The market for high-speed wireless LAN-based voice, data and multimedia systems is expected to grow at an explosive rate over the next few years. Frost and Sullivan forecasts that manufacturers' revenue in the total worldwide wireless LAN industry will approach $884.0 million by the year 2002, this represents a total revenue growth of 113% over forecasted 1999 revenues. The primary drivers for this explosion are the growing need to enable wireless access to information, increased speed requirements, the entry of larger industry players, and the adoption of open standards.

"IEEE, the international standards body that brought us Ethernet, has once again taken the networking industry a huge step forward," said Phil Belanger, WECA Chairman. "WECA's mission is to certify the interoperability of products based on the Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) standard and to promote Wi-Fi as the standard for the enterprise, small office, public access, and home markets.

Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b)

Building on the 802.11 Direct Sequence 2 Mbps standard, Wi-Fi provides an 11 Mbps data rate in the same 2.4 GHz radio band making it compatible with legacy products while providing a smooth migration to higher speed products. With Wi-Fi products already on the market that comply with the standard, and more coming everyday, WECA will work to drive the adoption of this standard through certifying interoperability and awarding the Wi-Fi seal of approval. The first products to carry this seal are expected to enter the marketplace in Q1 2000.

IEEE 802.11a

Paving a way for next generation wireless LAN products, 802.11a supplements the 802.11 standard to provide high data rates up to 54 Mbps in the 5 GHz band. The specifications of the physical layer encompass data rates from 6 Mbps up to 54 Mbps. Although this standard operates in a different unlicensed radio band, it shares the same proven wireless LAN MAC protocol as Wi-Fi.

About IEEE

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) promotes the engineering process of creating, developing, integrating, sharing and applying knowledge about electro- and information technologies and sciences for the benefit of humanity and the profession.

About WECA

WECA's mission is to certify interoperability of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b High Rate) wireless networking products and to promote this standard for the enterprise, small business, and the home. WECA will grant a seal of interoperability to vendors upon successful completion of prescribed test suites. Wireless LAN vendors building products in accordance with the Wi-Fi specification are encouraged to join and submit products for testing and the seal of interoperability. All companies supporting the Wi-Fi standard are also encouraged to join the alliance.