IEEE shuts down all WLAN standards groups

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) today announced it was disbanding all standards-making activities related to wireless networking technologies.

In making the announcement, IEEE P802.11 Working Group chair Stuart W.M. Worry said, "All good things must come to an end, and so must activities that are essentially futile. While I will miss the junkets to exotic locations and the excitement of watching the standards-making process in action, it’s time to focus our energies on more achievable activities, such as health care reform."

The announcement seemed to surprise many industry watchers and even companies involved in the process. "I’m shocked, simply shocked, that such a thing could happen," said Craig Rolex, President and CEO of Airgo Networks. "I really had no idea that anyone was unhappy with how the process was going", he added.

But the wireless networking industry seems to be rapidly moving through its grieving process into acceptance, and showing the can-do attitude and cooperation that has served it well in the past. Industry leaders Cisco and Intel have already volunteered to form an industry consortium that has been tentatively named WEWON (Wireless Efficiency With Opposition Neutralized). The companies say they plan to apply many of the business processes that have served them well to the process of establishing wireless LAN standards that give all participants a chance to compete on an equal footing.

Many details remain to be worked out, but a mission statement of "All your wireless belongs to us" has already been agreed upon, along with the consortium’s founding date of April 1.

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