Research firm Gartner Inc. is warning companies to hold off on making investments in 802.11g wireless LAN technology until products can be properly certified by the non-profit Wi-Fi Alliance.

Jumping on the 802.11g bandwagon may result in interoperability problems with other 802.11g devices, as well as older 802.11b wireless LAN technology, Gartner said. Like Wi-Fi devices that use the popular 802.11b standard, 802.11g wireless devices operate in the 2.4GHz band. However, 802.11g devices support much faster data transfer rates than those using the 802.11b standard, 54Mbps as opposed to 11Mbps, making them better suited for enterprise network environments. In February, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced that it would begin certifying 802.11g products after the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) approved the final standard for 802.11g later this year, according to a statement released by the organization. The alliance is in the process of developing an 802.11g interoperability test program based on the most recent draft of the standard, it said. Certified 802.11g products should be available in the fourth quarter. Until then, Gartner analysts recommend that companies stick to using certified 802.11b devices. Companies intent on purchasing uncertified 802.11g wireless devices or devices that support both standards should pay no more than they would for 802.11b devices, Gartner said.

Toshiba launches Wi-Fi ‘hot spot in a box’ project

The public access Wi-Fi hot spot market just got a little hotter as Toshiba Computer Systems Group (TCSG) formally launched a project to deploy 10,000 hot spots in the U.S. by the end of the year and Intel Corp. signed an agreement with the government of Singapore to support Wi-Fi roaming throughout Asia.

Oscar Koendersm, vice-president of TCSG, a division of Toshiba Corp. in Tokyo, said in a statement recently that the company intends to become the “dominant supplier of 802.11b hot spot infrastructure and expects a considerable portion of the established public Wi-Fi market to be driven by hot spot operators and location owners capitalizing on the hot spot trend.” Toshiba Canada recently announced a similar public access Wi-Fi service for Canada. Toshiba plans to sell what it calls a “hot spot in a box,” including a Wi-Fi access card, controller and associated electronics to resellers who will in turn sell it to partners, such as convenience stores, with a modest markup.