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802.11i Ratification Expected To Spur WLAN Adoption

Thursday's final ratification of the 802.11i WLAN security standard will boost confidence in WLAN security and encourage enterprise deployment, experts say.

As expected, the IEEE Thursday formally -- and unanimously -- ratified the 802.11i security standard, also known as WPA2, for Wi-Fi networks.

While ratification was expected, it is widely considered as necessary to renew confidence in WLAN security, particularly by enterprise IT managers.

"It will definitely result in faster adoption of wireless in the enterprise because more companies will feel safer," said Phil Solis, senior analyst for ABI Research. "It's part psychological."

Solis noted that much of the standard had already been built into WLAN equipment. "Almost all equipment since late 2002 has had it," he noted. "All it will take is a firmware upgrade to get to the official standard. And equipment will now ship with it built-in so enterprises won't even have to go through the bother of upgrading the firmware of older stuff."

Besides encouraging adoption in the enterprise, Solis said he also expected ratification to encourage delivery of content to home users, where wireless LANs have been widely adopted.

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