On the way: 802.11i and WPA2

Burns, Jim
June 2004
Communications News;Jun2004, Vol. 41 Issue 6, p33
Trade Publication
802.11i is the latest standard for 802.11-based wireless LAN security. Wi-Fi protected access 2 (WPA2) is the Wi-Fi Alliance certification program, based on the support by equipment and software for what it considers to be mandatory features of 802.11i. The features in IEEE 802.11i and WPA2 are virtually identical. The two most important features beyond WPA to become standardized through 802.11i/WPA2 are pre-authentication, which enables secure fast roaming without noticeable signal latency, and the use of a cipher suite in place of temporal key integrity protocol. Although 802.11i and WPA2 are basically the same, they provide for some differences due to their respective roles in the industry. This means there are minor differences in the total set of mandatory features. Ratification of 802.11i is expected to occur in 2004. WPA2 will go public shortly thereafter. Certification testing will begin soon after the 802.11i standard is ratified by IEEE. This will be an initial, non-mandatory testing period, to be followed in 18 months by the mandatory testing program.


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