Gartner Inc. has warned companies
to delay investing in 802.11g WLAN technology until
the nonprofit Wi-Fi Alliance properly certifies products.
802.11g products may display interoperability problems
with other 802.11g devices as well as older 802.11b
WLAN technology, Gartner said.
802.11g wireless devices operate
in the 2.4 GHz band but can support faster data transfer
rates than those using the 802.11b standard. It supports
54 Mbps compared to 802.11b's 11 Mbps.
The Wi-Fi Alliance said it's
still in the process of developing an 802.11g interoperability
test program based on the most recent draft of the standard.
When finalized, Wi-Fi Alliance certification will test
both mandatory and optional components of the IEEE 802.11g
standard, including the ability to support 54 Mbps speeds.
Backward interoperability with 802.11b products, and
performance in mixed 802.11b/802.11g network environments,
will also be tested.
Despite the lack of a firm
802.11g standard, competition for the high-growth WLAN
market has prompted hardware vendors, including Apple
Computer, to push 802.11g products to market. Those
products might not meet the certification criteria for
802.11g operation when those criteria are finalized,
leading to interoperability problems, especially in
networks using products from more than one vendor.
Certified 802.11g products
should be available in the fourth quarter of 2003. Until
then, Gartner analysts recommended that companies stick
to certified 802.11b devices.