One of the chief concerns for businesses about the Wi-Fi wireless networking technology has been the lack of a security standard. An industry group called the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has been working to develop and approve 802.11i, a security standard that won't be finished for at least another year. The latest security specification,(WPA), is a subset of what will become the 802.11i standard. WPA replaces the existing security protocol, called Wired Equivalent Privacy.
"The industry had to be responsible and meet the needs of those companies who are deploying these networks," said Brian Grimm, a Wi-Fi Alliance spokesman.
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. The certification is meant to broaden Wi-Fi's reach and expand the number of networks that people will be able to access. The Wi-Fi Alliance has approved products based on the 802.11a and 802.11b standards and is working on 802.11g-based products.
Consumers and businesses will be able to tell which products have been certified to be interoperable for WPA by looking for the Wi-Fi label. The Wi-Fi Alliance also will maintain a list on its Web site. Certified products will be available in May.
The Wi-Fi Alliance has certified the 802.11b components of the following products for WPA interoperability:
Atheros AR5001X+ 802.11a/b/g CardBus Reference Design Board
Atheros AR5001AP 802.11a/b/g Access Point
Broadcom 802.11g Access Point Reference Design
Broadcom 802.11g CardBus Reference Design
Cisco Access Point AIR
Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 LAN 3B Mini-PCI Adapter
Intersil PRISM 2.5 Reference Design PCMCIA Card ISL37300P
Intersil PRISM Access Point Development Kit ISL36356A
Symbol Wireless Networker CompactFlash Wireless LAN Adapter Model LA-4137