Ensuring wireless security to become easier

Ensuring wireless security to become easier

LAS VEGAS'Wireless routers these days come packed with security features, but they can be difficult to set up. Technology introduced this week at the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show could make those problems a thing of the past.

Broadcom Corp. of Irvine Calif. is working with Linksys and Hewlett-Packard Co. to make Wi-Fi Protected Access security available at the touch of a button. The new feature will be called Broadcom SecureEasySetup and will automatically handle all the technical issues involved with WPA setup such as network name, encryption key and WPA pass phrase.

Starting early this year, Linksys routers will begin shipping with a special WPA button for enabling the security protocol. Broadcom had a prototype of the new 802.11g router at CES and showed GCN Labs how the technology worked.

With the router button activated, users bring up a security settings window on their client system. After clicking a security button in the settings window, the two devices talk to each another for a few seconds and generate random security keys. From then on, WPA is enabled without further user intervention. Any communication between the router and the client will be encrypted.

Hewlett-Packard is also adding the feature to its wireless printers. On WPA-protected printers, documents are sent encrypted to the printer and can't be intercepted by others along the way.

'By working with Broadcom and Linksys to simplify wireless networking setup, we're not only improving WiFi customer satisfaction, but expanding the universe of products with WiFi capabilities beyond PCs to include printers and consumer electronics devices.' said Gregg Patterson, vice president of solutions and technology in HP's consumer imaging and printing group.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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