Wi-Fi Alliance drives improved WLAN security

First WPA-certified products announced

The Wi-Fi Alliance, guardian of 802.11 wireless networking interoperability, has announced the first set of products that meet its Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security specification.

WPA, a subset of the 801.11i WLAN security specification, is set to replace the creaky Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) scheme used by wireless clients and base-stations to encrypt data to date. 802.11i is due to be ratified as a standard by the IEEE next year.

WPA builds on WEP by offering a Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), which constructs encryption keys in a more secure manner than WEP, which basically uses whatever you type in. WPA also uses the IEEE 802.1x wired and wireless protocol for authorisation and access control.

The Alliance certified the following products for WPA:

  • Atheros AR5BCB-00025A - AR5001X+ 802.11a/b/g CardBus Reference Design Board
  • Atheros AR5BAP-00025A - AR5001AP 802.11a/b/g Access Point
  • Broadcom 802.11g Access Point Reference Design - BCM94306-GAP
  • Broadcom 802.11g CardBus Reference Design - BCM94306CB
  • Cisco Access Point AIR-AP1230B
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 LAN 3B Mini-PCI Adapter
  • Intersil Prism 2.5 Reference Design PCMCIA Card ISL37300P
  • Intersil Prism Access Point Development Kit ISL36356A
  • Symbol Wireless Networker CompactFlash Wireless LAN Adapter Model LA-4137

WPA-certified products will ship next month, the Wi-Fi Alliance said. For now it remains an optional certification, but the Alliance noted that it will become a required part of the certification process for "selected PC and PC peripheral products" later this year.



What products have been or are likely to be "selected", the Alliance didn't say, but the implication is that if you want to say your product is Wi-Fi compatible, you'll have to ensure WPA functionality.

The Wi-Fi Alliance also said yesterday it had begun a test programme to certify interoperability with the upcoming 802.11g standard. 802.11g remains a published specification, but has yet to be ratified by the IEEE. That ratification is expected in June. ®

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