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Wi-Fi Alliance Aims to Secure More Residential Wi-Fi Networks with Easy to Set Up Security Program

1/10/07 - The Wi-Fi Alliance has certified the first products implementing its new simplified method for configuring security-enabled networks in the digital home. The new optional certification, called Wi-Fi Protected Setup, is based on a specification developed by Wi-Fi Alliance member companies to provide an industry-standard approach to ease setup of Wi-Fi networks and encourage consumers to always enable security features.

Wi-Fi Protected Setup is expected to further enable the proliferation of Wi-Fi technology in PCs and beyond. A wide range of devices are eligible to pursue the certification, including traditional PC equipment, televisions, stereos, and gaming consoles, as well as phones. The first release of the program supports use of a push-button technique or entry of a PIN (personal identification number) to network Wi-Fi devices. Support for methods using Near-Field Communication, in which a user simply touches a token or card to a device, as well as USB Flash drives, is planned for later in the first half of 2007.

"Wi-Fi has quickly become one of the most pervasive wireless technologies, but consumers have told us they want it to be easier to set up and protect," said Wi-Fi Alliance Managing Director Frank Hanzlik. "Wi-Fi Protected Setup reduces by half the number of user steps required to set up a network, enabling Wi-Fi to be more easily installed across a range of consumer devices."

"Having an industry-standard approach to simplified network setup will be a big help, as new users adopt Wi-Fi and more experienced users want to connect a wider array of devices," said Kurt Scherf, Vice President, Principal Analyst with Parks Associates. "We expect 90% of networked homes to include Wi-Fi by 2010, so it's critical that manufacturers make it as easy as possible to configure."

The first products to become Wi-Fi Certified for Wi-Fi Protected Setup are:

  • Atheros AR5006X 802.11a/b/g Wireless Network Adapter
  • Atheros AR5002AP-2X Concurrent 802.11a and 802.11b/g Dual-band WLAN Access Point
  • Broadcom BCM94704AGR 54g Dual-band Access Point Reference Design
  • BUFFALO AirStation Wireless-A&G High Power Access PointWHR-HP-AMPGV
  • BUFFALO AirStation Wireless-A&G High Power Notebook Adapter STA: WLI-CB-AMG54
  • Conexant CX94515 ADSL2+ Gateway
  • Intel(R) PROSet/Wireless Software Version 11.1
  • Marvell 802.11a/b/g Wireless USB Client
  • Marvell TopDog Draft 802.11n Access Point
  • Ralink Technology RT5201U (802.11a/b/g USB) / Packet Overdrive

A white paper entitled "Wi-Fi Certified for Wi-Fi Protected Setup: Easing the User Experience for Home and Small Office Networks" provides a detailed look at how Wi-Fi Protected Setup works and is available for free download at the Wi-Fi Alliance web site.

By Robert Hoskins

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