Firm Unveils WLAN Security

By allNetDevices Staff

September 13, 2001

Says cheap enough for home market

New technology was launched Thursday that reportedly strengthens the security of wireless 802.11a and 802.11b wireless local area networks.

WLAN chipset vendor NextComm, Inc. claims that its Key Hopping technology is based on MD5, which is used to secure credit card authentication over the standard browser-based Internet. That technology uses a key management system that frequently switches security keys, which is a deterrent to breaking the encryption.

So far, WLANs have used the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol, but that technology is largely believed to be inadequate.

"When you're talking about security, you're really talking about two elements -- the strength of the lock, and how difficult it is for the attacker to find the key," said Jerry Wang, NextComm's CEO. "The way WEP uses the lock is inadequate because the key patterns generated are easily identified."

While other vendors have proposed other WLAN security solutions, Wang claims they are too expensive for the home and small office market. The company said it will trial the new technology in October and release it in upcoming versions of its media access controller to be released by the end of 2001.

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