Wi-Fi Alliance Announces Standards-Based Security Solution to Replace WEP

The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced a security solution based on an IEEE standards effort called Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) to replace the existing WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). This solution is designed to work in the products on the market today and is expected to first appear in Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products during the first quarter of 2003. Most vendors are expected to offer firmware and software updates for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products currently in use.

“Enterprises, small businesses and home users need a stronger standards-based security solution than WEP and they need it now,” said Wi-Fi Alliance chairman Dennis Eaton. “The Wi-Fi Alliance worked with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 Standards Working Group for Wireless Local Area Networks to deliver a robust wireless LAN security solution meeting the immediate needs of the marketplace. This approach allows the industry to bring a strong, standards-based security solution to the market today while giving the IEEE 802.11 Task Group I the time to complete and finalize the full 802.11i Robust Security Network amendment to the existing wireless LAN standard. Security is, and will continue to be, the highest priority for the Wi-Fi Alliance and for the industry,” continued Eaton.

“The bar for security is always rising and the development of robust security solutions take time,” commented Stuart J. Kerry, Chairman of the IEEE 802.11Standards Working Group for Wireless Local Area Networks. “WPA will meet the needs of both manufacturers and customers for the foreseeable future and the IEEE will also continue its work on the full 802.11i amendment which is expected to be completed mid next year. This will be the next step in the evolution of standards-based solutions for IEEE 802.11 networks,” continued Kerry.

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