The 802.11 standard is important because millions of people all over the world are using this standard. They use it to connect without wires to the Internet when they are on the road and away from their home or office. They are also using 802.11 to create wireless networks in their homes and offices.
Although Wi-Fi is only a few years old, it's important because it provides an assurance of compatibility for 802.11 devices. Each Wi-Fi device will "talk" to every other Wi-Fi device and the Wi-Fi Alliance has certified that this is the case! (For more information about the Wi-Fi Alliance, see the sidebar "The Wi-Fi Alliance" earlier in this chapter.)
The Wi-Fi Alliance makes the unequivocal statement that "Wi-Fi labeled equipment will work with any other piece of wireless networking gear that also has the Wi-Fi logo." Without the assurance of Wi-Fi compatibility, you would probably go mad trying for interoperability in a world of widely divergent wireless devices.
Every device with the Wi-Fi logo is also tested for functionality and durability by an independent testing laboratory.
Finally, the Wi-Fi Alliance, and the companies that form the Alliance, are engaged in an ongoing effort to expand wireless standards, and make wireless computing a more secure and enjoyable experience.