By CWNP On 03/19/2009 - 5 Comments

I spoke to someone today who, like me, is on a quest to define everything that is Wi-Fi.  She (my good friend Joanie Wexler) is on a quest to make sense of the ever-changing vendor definitions for their technology and to relate it back to a standard definition.  KUDOS Joanie!  Our mission here at CWNP is to help the industry learn to USE the standards-based terminology created by the IEEE and Wi-Fi Alliance.  Where there is no standard terminology, we create it.  Examples are 'Single Channel Architecture (SCA)' and 'Multiple Channel Architecture (MCA)'.  You're welcome.  ;-)  My good friend Joel Barrett has picked up the CWNP torch of standardized exam terminology and has created an entire Wi-Fi dictionary.  If you haven't seen it, see here:

If you want an example of why this stuff matters, here's my favorite.  Meru and Extricom, the only two vendors to ever release products that use the Single Channel Architecture, call the blob that is their collective logic of controller and APs on a single channel, 1) channel spans, 2) channel stacks, 3) channel blankets, and 4) channel layers.  Geez Luiz.  Why?  I'll tell you why: marketing terminology run amuck.  :-)  No offense is meant to either vendor of course.  This is just my favorite example - there are many more just like it that involve other vendors. 

Joanie brought up a really good point.  What is 'Airtime Fairness?'  Meru defines it one way, Aerohive another, Aruba another, and Cisco...well...Cisco seems to think that their 'ClientLink technology' has some superman-like powers that enables their gear to do it too.  HA!  As a sidenote (to be fair to Cisco) I will tell you that even without any specific airtime fairness features, Cisco's controllers do downlink airtime fairness pretty well in a homogeneous client environment.  Been there, tested that...and trust me that it has squat to do with ClientLink.  Back to my point...everyone's definitions are different.  Who then will teach the world the differences?  The marketing people at the vendors?  Heck no!  That's the last thing we need.  Joanie has volunteered.  Everyone owes her a debt of gratitude (me included).  CWNP will keep up its end of the bargain (standards-based definitions) to give her something to reference all of that marketing terminology against. :-)

How then can the industry at large - the users of Wi-Fi in particular - keep abreast of all of the marketing lingo, who's lying about what, and so forth?  Well, I think it's going to take more than Joanie, Joel, and me...that's for sure.  How about an industry user advocacy organization?  Remember the Wireless LAN Association (WLANA)?  The domain is still running at  If you wonder why, it's because we own it.  After WLANA died, we just couldn't bear the thought of burying it. :-)  It was a great idea after all...and maybe it'll rise again someday with a new set of purposes.

So, if you're still sitting there thinking, "Who does this guy think he is to be making up terminology!?"  Someone has to.  It's either that or we get a plethora of marketing terms to choose from that all mean some off-shoot of the same thing - none of which has ever been defined.  I give you: Devinitions.

Blog Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within these blog posts are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Certitrek, CWNP or its affiliates.

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