Wi-Fi: 'It will be safe within 12 months'

Which is always good to know... especially if you're using it now...
Written by Richard Shim, Contributor

Which is always good to know... especially if you're using it now...

Wi-Fi product makers are lining up to lend support to a new security standard, as they try to allay concerns about transmitting data over wireless networks. Earlier this week, an industry group called the Wi-Fi Alliance announced the certification of products using the latest security specification, Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). The lack of a security standard has been one of the chief obstacles in the adoption of wireless networking technology within the business market. WPA is the third specification related to Wi-Fi to receive certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance for interoperability, which means that approved products are supposed to work with each other no matter which company manufactured the product. Hardware makers such as D-Link, Linksys and NetGear are the latest to rally behind the WPA specification. D-Link announced on Thursday that its AirPlus, AirPremiere, AirPlus Xtreme G and AirXpert AGB wireless networking product lines will include the WPA update starting this quarter and will be available to current owners of devices as a free upgrade via download. Linksys said it will incorporate WPA into products based on the 802.11g specification first, with firmware and software upgrades available on its site by the end of May. The company will have WPA enhancements for its 802.11b and combination 802.11a and 802.11g products by the summer. NetGear representatives said firmware updates will be available as a free download from its site this quarter, and that the first product to include it will be its 802.11b-based ME103 access point, which targets businesses. A standards body called the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has been working to develop and approve 802.11i, a security standard that won't be finished for at least another year. WPA is a subset of what will become the 802.11i standard and replaces the existing security protocol, called Wired Equivalent Privacy.
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