By far, most home networks are wireless networks, and virtually all of them use wireless local-area network (WLAN) equipment certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA). This certifcation ensures the interoperability of equipment between different vendors. Now, the WFA is introducing a new program to certify products that use the group’s setup and configuration program for security-enabled devices.
While it isn’t the most complex thing in the world, setting up a home WLAN is still a challenge for many consumers. In fact, the number one reason for WLAN product returns is their difficulty of setup. Configuring and enabling the security mechanism in those WLANs also is difficult, which is why only about 60% of those consumers who use a home WLAN actually turn on the security provision.
The Wi-Fi Protected Setup system is an industry-standard approach to ease the setup of Wi-Fi networks. WLAN equipment manufacturers are just now beginning to incorporate it. The first certified products include releases from Atheros, Broadcom, Buffalo, Conexant, Intel, Marvell, and Ralink.
The first release of the program supports the use of a pushbutton technique or the entry of a personal identification number to automatically set up the network and the security. Standard Wireless Protected Access (WPA) or WPA2 will be implemented with no user fuss or bother.
This significant development is expected to further boost wireless as the technology of choice of new home networks. For more details on the program and a white paper, go to the organization’s Web site.