PARC Automates WLAN Security, Interoperability

The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) - the folks that invented laser printing and the graphical user interface - said Tuesday they have developed technologies that simplify and automate wireless

March 2, 2004

2 Min Read
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The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) - the folks that invented laser printing and the graphical user interface - said Tuesday they have developed technologies that simplify and automate wireless security and that provide interoperability among various networks.

The goal, PARC said in a statement, is to enable users to roam securely and seamlessly between networks of various types. The breakthroughs came in two separate projects, the organization said.

"These projects represent essential stepping stones - robust, usable security and simple interoperability - for operating in a world where computing is increasingly atomized, embedded and user-managed," Mark Bernstein, president and center director of PARC said in a statement. PARC, originally founded by Xerox, became an independent company in 2002.

The first project uses of the private key infrastructure (PKI) to automate security for users of wireless networks. Specifically, the technology enables use of a location-limited channel such as infrared to exchange of a key pair between a client, such as a laptop or handheld, and the network security infrastructure. The user can then request a digital certificate and, when the network administrator approves the certificate, PARC's software automatically configures the client device.

PARC claimed it ran a user study in which users set up 802.1x security in two steps that took less than two minutes. It claimed it otherwise required 90 minutes and 30 installation steps to install that level of security on client devices.The second project, according to PARC, resulted in the development of what it calls the Obje interoperability platform, a software architecture that can interconnect devices over both wired and wireless networks. PARC said that the platform "uses mobile code to allow devices to teach each other how to work together without prior knowledge or shared standards."

PARC envisions Obje as a means by which consumers will be able to network these devices and interact with information in a way that suits their needs rather than in a way that's predicated on the limitations of individual devices, said Hermann Calabria, a principal in PARC's business development unit.

The organization provided no details about whether or when the technology would be commercialized.

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