Wi-Fi Alliance

Wi-Fi Alliance
Formation 1999 (1999)
Headquarters Austin, Texas
Website www.wi-fi.org
Formerly called
Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance
old Wi-Fi Alliance logo

Wi-Fi Alliance is a non-profit organization that promotes Wi-Fi technology and certifies Wi-Fi products if they conform to certain standards of interoperability. Not every IEEE 802.11-compliant device is submitted for certification to the Wi-Fi Alliance, sometimes because of costs associated with the certification process. The lack of the Wi-Fi logo does not necessarily imply a device is incompatible with Wi-Fi devices.

The Wi-Fi Alliance owns the Wi-Fi trademark. Manufacturers may use the trademark to brand certified products that have been tested for interoperability.


Early 802.11 products suffered from interoperability problems because the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) had no provision for testing equipment for compliance with its standards. In 1999, pioneers of a new, higher speed variant, endorsed the IEEE 802.11b specification to form the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) and branded the new technology Wi-Fi.[1][2]

The group of companies included 3Com, Aironet (acquired by Cisco), Harris Semiconductor (now Intersil), Lucent (now Alcatel-Lucent), Nokia and Symbol Technologies (now Motorola).[3]

As key sponsors, the alliance lists Apple, Comcast, Samsung, Sony, LG, Intel, Dell, Broadcom, Cisco, Qualcomm, Motorola, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, and T-Mobile. The charter for this independent organization was to perform testing, certify interoperability of products, and to promote the technology.[4]

WECA renamed itself the Wi-Fi Alliance in 2002.[5] It is based in Austin, Texas.

Most producers of 802.11 equipment became members, and as of 2012, the Wi-Fi Alliance had over 550 member companies. Wi-Fi Alliance extended Wi-Fi beyond wireless local area network applications into point-to-point and personal area networking and enabled specific applications such as Miracast.

Wi-Fi certification

The Wi-Fi Alliance owns and controls the "Wi-Fi Certified" logo, a registered trademark, which is permitted only on equipment which has passed testing. Purchasers relying on that trademark will have greater chances of interoperation than otherwise. Testing involves not only radio and data format interoperability, but security protocols, as well as optional testing for quality of service and power management protocols.[6] A focus on user experience has shaped the overall approach of the Wi-Fi Alliance certification program: Wi-Fi Certified products have to demonstrate that they can perform well in networks with other Wi-Fi Certified products, running common applications, in situations similar to those encountered in everyday use. This pragmatic approach stems from three tenets, around which certification is centered:

The Wi-Fi Alliance definition of interoperability goes well beyond the ability to work in a Wi-Fi network. To gain certification under a specific program, products have to show satisfactory performance levels in typical network configurations and have to support both established and emerging applications. A user that purchases a Wi-Fi enabled laptop, for instance, would not be satisfied if the laptop established a connection with the home network, only to get the throughput of a dial-up connection. Similarly, subscribers using a Wi-Fi enabled mobile phone would be disappointed, if a voice call could not go through or was dropped. The Wi-Fi Alliance certification process includes three types of tests to ensure interoperability. Wi-Fi Certified products are tested for:

Certification types

The Wi-Fi Alliance provides certification testing in two levels:[7]



Wi-Fi Direct

In October 2010, the Alliance began to certify Wi-Fi Direct, that allows Wi-Fi-enabled devices to communicate directly with each other, without going through a wireless access point or hotspot.[13] Since 2009 when it was first announced, some suggested Wi-Fi Direct might replace the need for Bluetooth on applications that do not rely on Bluetooth low energy.[14][15]

Wi-Fi Aware

Wi-fi Aware™ is an interoperability certification program launched in January 2015, that enables device users when in the range of a particular access point or another compatible device to receive notifications of applications or services available in the proximity.[16][17]

Fears were voiced immediately in media that it would be predominately used for proximity marketing.[18]


  1. Marlyn Kemper Littman (2002). Building Broadband Networks. CRC Press. pp. 406–407. ISBN 9781420000016.
  2. Wireless Access 2000. Information Gatekeepers. 2002. p. 111. ISBN 9781420000016.
  3. "Wi-fi Alliance: Organization". Archived from the original on September 3, 2009. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  4. John Cox (May 28, 2001). "Effort afoot to provide wireless LAN roaming". Network World. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  5. Eric Griffith (October 2, 2002). "WECA becomes Wi-Fi Alliance". Internet News. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  6. "An overview of Wi-Fi Alliance certification" (PDF).
  7. "Insist on Wi-Fi CERTIFIED". wi-fi.org. Wi-Fi Alliance. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  8. "WPA2 – Featured Topics from Wi-Fi Alliance".
  9. "WMM – Article from Wi-Fi Alliance".
  10. "Power save – Article from Wi-Fi Alliance".
  11. "WPS – Article from Wi-Fi Alliance".
  12. http://www.wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/wi-fi-certified-passpoint
  13. "Wi-Fi gets personal: Groundbreaking Wi-Fi Direct launches today". Press release. WiFi Alliance. October 25, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  14. Tony Bradley (October 15, 2009). "Wi-Fi Direct could be death of Bluetooth". PC World. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  15. Olga Kharif (October 14, 2009). "Wi-Fi Is About to Get a Whole Lot Easier". Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  16. http://www.wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/wi-fi-aware
  17. https://techcrunch.com/2015/07/14/wi-fi-aware-aims-to-connect-all-your-devices-instantly/
  18. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/07/15/wifi_alliance_ushers_in_new_era_of_intrusive_apps/
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