Wi-Fi products roll despite security debate

Friday, 5 December 2003, 11:01 AM EST

The message from a wireless conference this week in San Jose, Calif., is clear: Wi-Fi is more or less business-ready. Sorry, make that more and less business-ready. Dueling speakers at the Wi-Fi Planet Conference & Expo appraised wireless data networks very differently.

Cisco Systems' general manager of Building Broadband Solutions division, Steve Nye, said problems that have kept large companies from going wireless largely have been solved. He touted new standards and product certifications as evidence that wireless security concerns are on the wane.

A bit of the punch of Nye's declaration was dissipated by news Wednesday that three of Cisco's wireless access points can be illicitly tapped. (A fix is available at Cisco's site.)

And Thursday, a former Intel exec blasted wireless as too insecure, too complicated, and too difficult to install. Les Valdez, who retired from Intel earlier this year after a 25-year run with the chipmaker, said wireless security not is good enough. More to the point, Valdez said most network administrators worry that Wi-Fi will open their networks to attacks and rogue users.

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