Taking Wi-Fi -- And Wi-Fi Security -- to a New Level

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 08, 2007

This morning, Wi-Fi Alliance, an industry association, announced its Wi-Fi Protected Setup certification program. It’s game-changing, I think.

What it is: Today, when you buy a home Wi-Fi router, you have to go through a pretty complex set-up to enable network security. In fact, studies show that two in five consumers end up never enabling security at all. That’s why we have war driving, where unauthorized people tap into others’ Wi-Fi networks. That’s how some people have their identities and important documents stolen.

Enter this new certification. All Wi-Fi routers and Wi-Fi-enabled devices complying with this certification with enable Wi-Fi network security automatically. So when you buy a complying laptop, a Wi-Fi phone or a router, security will be enabled, without any help from you. This week, the Alliance plans to announce a slew of manufacturers that will implement this feature.

We all know that Wi-Fi set-up is much more complicated than it needs to be, and this is another step in fixing that problem. I think this feature will ease some consumers’ worries about getting Wi-Fi and, ultimately, help increase Wi-Fi adoption. Now if we could only make the rest of Wi-Fi router set-up easier, too….

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Reader Comments

Kristin F

January 11, 2007 05:34 PM

Though I work in technology, I don't consider myself a tech geek (I use that term with positive connotations in mind). I can barely program my mobile and it's circa 2000. But when I set up my wi-fi router at home I went through the "complex" set up to enable security. It took some time but it was actually pretty easy. However, if I could have just turned on my laptop and have security set up automatically, I probably could have figured out how to program my mobile by now...

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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