• 03/26/2004
    7:00 PM
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Examining 802.11i and WPA

Products using the new Wi-Fi Protected Access Technology are here, with 802.11i-compliant products coming soon. We help you decide which one is best for your organization.

Enterprises can go WPA-802.1x with RADIUS servers and PC client supplicants. Most enterprises choose RADIUS over WPA-PSK because PSK requires more administrative overhead and can be vulnerable. Employing RADIUS requires a thorough examination of the merits of alternative EAP types.

Here and Now

If your company's handheld devices are used to conduct critical transactions--like in the health-care, manufacturing and logistics industries--you'll have to deploy WPA because existing handhelds don't support RSN's hefty AES. Until 802.11i is finalized and its features for real-time wireless apps like voice over WLAN are available, WPA is the next best thing for true wireless security.

Frank Robinson is a systems associate at Syracuse University. Write to him at frobinson@nwc.com. How do the 802.11i and WPA specs stack up? To find out, we tested some WPA systems in our Syracuse University Real-World Labs.

Once you've decided on a RADIUS server and established a security context for your WPA system, you must integrate the server with your organization's identity database. To get a feel for what's involved, we set up Meetinghouse's Aegis WLAN Security client and server products. To establish the security context, we obtained a certificate for the server from the enterprise root CA (certificate authority).

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