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The Wi-Fi Alliance is a global nonprofit organization that deals with products from different manufacturers that are certified on the basis of the IEEE 802.11 standard for the operation of various wireless devices. The Wi-Fi Alliance's goal is to attain a single, worldwide standard for high-speed wireless local area networking. As of 2011, the alliance included about 300 companies.
The organization launched the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED program in March of 2000. It offers a widely recognized designation of quality and interoperability, and ensures that certified Wi-Fi enabled products provide the best quality and user experience. The Wi-Fi Alliance has certified more than 10,000 so far, promoting the extended use of Wi-Fi services and products in established and newer markets.
Prior to 1999, the Wi-Fi Alliance was known as the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA).
The mission of the Wi-Fi Alliance is:
The Wi-Fi Alliance certifies products that conform to standards of interoperability, but because of the costs associated with certification, not every 802.11-compliant device is submitted to the Wi-Fi Alliance. The Wi-Fi Alliance owns a trademark that can be used by manufacturers to brand certified products that belong to a class of wireless local area network devices based on the IEEE 802.11 standard. The certifications are optional.
The Wi-Fi Certified logo may only be used on equipment that passes the organization's testing, which is based on data and radio format interoperability. It also depends on security protocols and optional testing for quality of service and power management protocols. Wi-Fi certified products have to prove that they perform well in networks including other certified products that run common applications. The primary focus of certification is based on interoperability. Strict tests are conducted to confirm that products from different vendors interoperate in different configurations. Backward compatibility is also tested.