There's a new letter to add to the Wi-Fi alphabet: 802.11i is a standard aimed at shoring up some of the security problems associated with previous versions of the networking technology. That's good news for businesses concerned about snoopers intercepting sensitive data. Previous solutions like WEP have been prone to hacking. Those who've held off on going wireless due to security concerns can look for 802.11i-compliant Wi-Fi hardware. Major manufacturers are expected to implement the new standard with a focus on business hardware first.
The new standard protects data with one of the strongest forms of encryption available, Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which supports 128-, 192- and 256-bit keys. It's used in conjunction with other encryption standards used in 802.11g. Although some manufacturers released products with the technology earlier in anticipation of approval by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) standards body, it may be year-end before it's widely available. The Wi-Fi Alliance will be testing 802.11i products for interoperability and publishing information on its website on products that pass testing. For the latest 802.11i news, visit the IEEE at www.ieee.org.