Improved Wi-Fi security is not for everyone yet

Wednesday, 18 June 2003, 9:10 AM EST

Wireless local area network security is about to improve dramatically, but it will take time before some organizations can reap the rewards.

This year, the Wi-Fi Alliance, an organization that certifies wireless LAN products for interoperability, began testing a new security protocol called Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). The first products to be certified, from vendors such as Broadcom Corp., Symbol Technologies Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and others, are nearing availability.

WPA is designed to replace Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), the encryption element of the popular 802.11b wireless LAN standard. Mike Disabato, a senior analyst with Midvale, Utah-based Burton Group, said that WEP is easily cracked with tools available on the Internet, and security fears have, to a certain extent, stalled enterprise adoption of wireless LANs.

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