Wi-Fi Protected Setup now supports NFC for tap-to-connect access to work, home networks

Summary:Connecting to a wireless network just got that little bit easier, thanks to NFC support. No, that doesn't include you, iPhone users.

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And they said NFC was limited in what it could do, like mobile payments or exchanging contact information. How wrong they were.

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced Wednesday that users can now "tap-to-connect" to wireless networks using their smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi Protected Setup — a way of accessing a network with the push of a button on the wireless router.

It's the little things in life, you know?

The non-profit industry association network said the capability extends to NFC as many devices do not have user interfaces, and a solution needed to be found. A range of devices, like cameras, gaming devices, smart home appliances, and thermostats will be able to connect to networks with a single tap.

That's now three methods that Wi-Fi Protected Setup supports — the push-button on the router, the PIN setup, and now NFC, which remains popular with Android and BlackBerry users as a way of making mobile payments.

Through the new NFC-enabled method, the router's configuration is wirelessly handed to the device and will be connected via WPA2 security, either through a traditional wireless network or an ad-hoc direct network.

Wi-Fi Alliance president and chief executive Edgar Figueroa said the organization will continue to evolve its certified programs to support requirements today and in the future.

More than 10,000 wireless devices have been certified for Wi-Fi Protected Setup since 2007. A number of devices, including those from Broadcom, Marvell, Mediatek, and Qualcomm, are already enabled with the NFC capability.

Topics: Networking, Wi-Fi

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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