WPA-2 Certification for Broadcom, Atheros, etc.

Several WiFi products obtained official WPA2 certification by the WiFi Alliance today. WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2), is based upon the 802.11i amendment to the 802.11 standard, which was ratified on July 29, 2004. The primary difference between WPA and WPA2 is that WPA2 uses a more advanced encryption technique called AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), allowing for compliance with FIPS140-2 government security requirements.

Guided by the Wi-Fi Alliance, WPA2 certification ensures that wireless LAN products are interoperable.

Broadcom, for example, announced that its AirForce wireless LAN access point and client designs were among the first products to be Wi-Fi CERTIFIED for WPA2.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has also chosen Broadcom’s popular IEEE 802.11a/g access point reference design (the BCM94712P) and 802.11g CardBus reference design (the BCM94306M) to be used in the certification process for other Wi-Fi products in the WPA2 test environment.

“Broadcom is proud to be among the first vendors to have its products certified for WPA2, and will continue to provide equipment manufacturers with the latest building blocks to meet the security requirements of all Wi-Fi customers,” said David Cohen, Senior Marketing Manager for Broadcom’s Home & Wireless Networking Business Unit.

WPA2 is the next-generation Wi-Fi security standard, combining the most powerful authentication and encryption techniques to protect wireless networks from unauthorized use. Based upon the recently-ratified IEEE 802.11i standard, WPA2 adds the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to the original WPA specification. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) advocates the use of AES security to protect sensitive digital information on government networks.

“Those Wi-Fi IC vendors who have already been including hardware-based AES implementations in their designs will be able to provide firmware upgrades to existing customers to implement WPA2 without a performance hit,” says Phil Solis, wireless analyst from ABI Research.

Products obtaining WPA2 certification on September 1, 2004 include:

    Atheros Communications Inc.      -- Atheros AR5002AP-2X Concurrent 802.11a and 802.11b/g Dual-band         Access Point      -- Atheros AR5002X Universal 802.11a/b/g Wireless Network Adapter    Broadcom Corporation      -- Broadcom AirForce(TM) 802.11a/g  CardBus Reference Design,         BCM94309CB      -- Broadcom AirForce(TM) 802.11a/g  Access Point Reference Design,         BCM94704-AGR    Cisco Systems      -- Cisco Aironet 1200 Series Access Point with integrated 802.11a         and 802.11g radios    Instant802 Networks      -- Gateway 7001 Access Point    Intel      -- IntelĀ® Pro/Wireless 2915 Network Connection    Realtek      -- Realtek RTL8185 and 8255 802.11a/g 54M WLAN NIC / RTL8185 and 8255-NIC

    Philadelphia Plans $10M City Cloud

    For about $10 million, the city of Philadelphia believes they can turn all 135 square miles of the city into a giant hot spot (recent articles). The ambitious plan, now in the works, would involve placing hundreds, or maybe thousands of hotspots around the city — probably atop lampposts. Each would be capable of communicating with the wireless networking cards that now come standard with many computers.

    The city would likely offer the service either for free, or at costs far lower than the $35 to $60 a month charged by commercial providers, said the city’s chief information officer, Dianah Neff.

    Once complete, the network would deliver broadband Internet almost anywhere radio waves can travel — including poor neighborhoods where high-speed Internet access is now rare.

    The Wireless Philadelphia Executive Committee will work with the city’s chief information officer, who estimated it would cost about $10 million to pay for the initial infrastructure for the system, plus $1.5 million a year to maintain.

    “If you’re out on your front porch with a laptop, you could dial in, register at no charge, and be able to access a high speed connection,” Neff said. “It’s a technology whose time is here.”

    Carriers like Verizon are less than enthusiastic. “No one should have to give up trash collection or police patrols for free broadband,” said Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe in Investor’s Business Daily. “City governments don’t pay taxes and they don’t operate under telecom regulations. We shouldn’t have to either if we’re competing with the city for customers.”

    Verizon threatened to sue FCC commissioners personally during Consensus Plan proceedings where Nextel swapped spectrum to prevent interference in public safety frequencies. William Barr, Verizon executive vice president & general counsel and former attorney general under the first President Bush, said;

    “It is no accident that Congress chose to employ the criminal law to police the fiscal accountability of public officials”.

    If the Innovative Philadelphia plan becomes a reality, Philadelphia could leap to the forefront of a growing number of cities that have contemplated offering wireless Internet service to residents, workers and guests.

    “We like to say it should be like the air you breathe — free and available everywhere,” Gonick said. “We look at this like PBS or NPR. It should be a public resource.”

    Over the past year, OneCleveland has added some 4,000 wireless transmitters in its University Circle, Midtown and lakefront districts. The service is free, and available to anyone who passes through the areas.

    New York City officials are negotiating to sell wireless carriers space on 18,000 lampposts for as much as $21.6 million annually. T-Mobile USA Inc., Nextel Partners Inc., IDT Corp. and three other wireless carriers want the equipment to increase their networks’ capacity. Los Angeles plans a similar city-wide cloud.

    One part of the 15-year deal is cheap Wi-Fi phones for neighborhoods where less than 95 percent of residents have home phones. IDT, which has agreed to market the cheaper phone service in those neighborhoods, would pay lower rates for poles there than other companies would in wealthier areas.

    Wireless technology has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years and become drastically less expensive. “Wireless mesh”, under consideration in Philadelphia, is one option to expand the network over entire neighborhoods, without wiring each one to a backbone.

    A SlashDot poster had an interesting observation:

    Comcast will never let it happen. They have their corporate HQ here in Philadelphia, and are quite influential in the city. They will find a way to kill this initiative. Why am I so sure? Look at their past behavior:

    They own some of the Philadelphia sports teams and refuse to sell the home game broadcast rights to satellite providers for any price– so if you live in Philadelphia and want to see televised Flyers and Sixers home games you must have Comcast cable, period.

    RCN tried to start offering cable TV, internet and phone service in Philadelphia a few years ago, and Comcast used their influence to throw up so many roadblocks, that RCN gave up and went away.

    They do not, and will not, stand for something endangering their revenues on their home turf.

    Past experience indicates Comcast will do most anything to preserve their monopoly.

    Cable and phone companies will almost certainly try to build the “cloud” first. They’ll argue:

    1. The city is wasting taxpayer money.
    2. It’s an information service (like cable modems).
    3. It’s unfair — using taxpayer money while avoiding taxes

    Cable and phone operators want control over rates and competition. If they build it, they’ll get control and exclude competitors. A multi-million dollar advertising campaigns will be designed to sell $19.95/month “cable zones” (even “free” if you buy their home service). But debt servicing and cash-flow is their thing. Comcast/AT&T paid some $4,500 to acquire each subscriber.

    They paid too much. The “triple play” required plant upgrades and new gear. Sure satellite TV and cable operators (who don’t own studios) must pay for content — which can run 35 cents/month or more per channel. The margins are quite different for internet access. It costs next to nothing.

    Most cable costs don’t directly relate to operating expenses. It’s debt. The reality is this; in a couple of years a 10 Mbps WiMax card will cost fifty bucks and the WiMax infrastructure is mostly air. Multimedia laptops, Portable Video Players and settops inevitably need wireless. A la carte.

    Cable and phone companies are terrified of the “free” cloud. How can they compete in the new wide-open “free” marketplace that has sprung up like mushrooms — where value-added voice, data and video services provide the revenue. They must preserve their monopoly status — or die. Even if municipalities withstand an aggressive attack from cable operators, The Phone Company still has the core surrounded with fiber. The pole is their totum. Gods will thunder, ground will shake, alliances will form. They’ll all come after The City. It will be a hell of a battle.

    Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street, a technology buff who carries a wireless handheld computer everywhere he goes, appointed a 14-member committee last week to work out the specifics of his city’s plan, including any fees, or restrictions on its use. God speed, John Glenn.

    Other U.S. cities that are building city-wide clouds include Athens, GA, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Boston, Bellevue & Kirkland, Cerritos, Charleston, South Carolina, Durham/Raleigh, North Carolina, FreeBeeAtlanta, OneCleveland, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Datona Beach, Hermosa Beach, Indianapolis, Louisville, Long Beach, Kennewick, WA, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Washington, Hermiston, OR, Medford, OR, Louisville Kentucky, Washington DC and others. Let’s not forget the State of Maine, the State of Georgia and the Southeastern United States.

    Other large regional clouds include:

    Perhaps the largest regional wireless network in the United States is a Navini non-line-of-sight network (above), which covers a vast expanse of South Texas, about 5,000 square miles. Clients get “wireless DSL” using indoor USB clients and 500kbps-1Mbps speed. No truck roll. Navini has a PC card, too.

    Additional “4G” articles in Daily Wireless include; Nextel + Flarion?, Nextel Trials Flarion (2002), Verizon: 300-500kbps Everywhere, Nextel’s Consensus Move, Nextel Gets 2.1 & 2.5 GHz, VeriLAN Turns on 802.16a, MAN with a Plan, 4G Clouds in the United States, 4G War in Sydney, Navin Unwires Douglas County, Navini in Houston, America Connect in the Southeastern U.S., Dr. Xu’s HPi Love Fest, 802.16 Vrs 802.20 and Navini’s Pitch.

    Linux vendor Linspire has released PhoneGaim, a free software program that adds voice-over-IP functionality to the Linux-based Gaim instant messaging client. Gaim is a multi-protocol IM client that runs on Linux, BSD, MacOS X, and Windows and is compatible with AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, IRC and Jabber.

    Linspire, aka Lindows, has taken the popular open-source Gaim IM client and enhanced it with SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)-based VOIP services. The resulting program, PhoneGaim, enables users to communicate by voice as well as by IM chat. Calls to other SIP endpoints, which travel over the Internet, avoid all per-minute charges, just like voice calls using Windows-based voice IM clients like Yahoo, MSN or ICQ.

    Skype for Pocket PC also provides free (wireless) VoIP.

    Related Dailywireless articles include; City Cloud Enablers, More City Clouds, Localizing PDA Content, Free Content on VeriLAN’s City Cloud, Portland Online Vrs The Blogs, Localizing Content, Handheld Content, Solar Powered Hotspots, Intel + Sony = Mobile MTV, Handheld Video: $99, Revenue for the “Free” Cloud, Homeless Roaming Hotspot, the OregonLive Blog, Seattle’s PlaceLab, Streaming Location Content, Handheld Tours, Wireless Museums, GPS Narrative Archaeology, Wireless Walking Tours, Electric Bike Tours, Mapping to Go Projects, My Pal Mickey, Cellular Walking Directions, Ekahau + ESRI, Linkspoint GPS + Symbol, MapInfo’s Hotspot Services, MapInfo’s Open LS, ATT + Microsoft + Maps, Location without GPS, Location By Triangulation – Not, Open GIS Magazine, Mapping Oral History, Poem Spots, Geocoding the Wiki, The Un-walled Garden, Tracking Individuals, Tracking Bryon, GPS+TV=Location and Location, Location, Location

    Ericsson changes its bluetooth involvement

    Ericsson is changing its involvement in the bluetooth industry it almost single-handedly created. According to this Comms Design story , Ericsson is letting go of its technology licencing group.

    The potential of bluetooth was revolutionary when it was first revealed. It was going to be a $5 component that would end up in almost every consumer device imaginable. It would begin a new era of coordination and communication between all electronic devices. At the very least, every cell phone, PDA, laptop, and desktop was supposed to have this technology by default. Getting on the internet via your cell phone with a bluetooth enabled PDA was a real threat to wi-fi networks. Much of the promise didn’t pan out. Bluetooth didn’t become cheap enough fast enough and for a while it looked like it might go away all together. Apple kept it alive by making it standard in the higher end Powerbook models and promoted its easy connectivity to Ericsson brand bluetooth enabled cell phones.

    Now, bluetooth technology has matured and it is no longer a speculative investment. I think thats all the spin-off is saying. Erisccon will still be an active member of the Bluetooth SIG. Ericsson can buy bluetooth ICs from companies like Cambridge Silicon Radio instead of trying to compete with them.

    As for the dream of “pervasive computing”, I put my hopes into UltraWideBand for its high-bandwidth, low-power, interference-resistant properties.

    Sputnik Manages FreeNet Cloud

    SoCalFreeNet, a 250-member San Diego wireless users group providing free internet access, is using Sputnik software and hardware to power a growing network of access nodes in and around San Diego.

    “We intend to expand free wireless access across San Diego,” said SoCalFreeNet president Lee Barken, who, in addition to his volunteer work with SoCalFreeNet, is co-director of the STAR Center at San Diego State University.

    “We hope to work with other wireless user groups to blanket the area and make it possible for all residents to have free Internet access.” SoCalFreeNet already provides free wireless access in about 20 nodes.

    Sputnik is a San Francisco-based provider of low-cost, managed Wi-Fi networks. Their Sputnik Control Center manages Sputnik’s 200 milliwatt AP ($325) as well as their AP 160 ($185) and AP 120 ($165) access points but does not work out of the box with third-party wireless APs. Instead, it requires that the APs have been updated with Sputnik Agent software or bridged (wired or wirelessly) to a Sputnik unit.

    Sputnik-Powered AP s utilize a customizeable captive portal page (redirect) page and can push content to end-users. Each Sputnik-Powered AP can be configured to serve unique captive portal/redirect pages. The embedded agent software on the AP tracks who is connected to the network and how much bandwidth they consume. This information is logged by, and can be analyzed with Sputnik Control Center for usage statistics, fraud detection or integration with third-party settlement and billing systems.

    With Sputnik hardware and software, SoCalFreeNet [could] provision and manage a city-wide network from a central location. The degree to which Sputnik hardware and software will be integrated into the SoCalFreeNet system is not clear, but Sputnik’s centralized management could have some significant advantages. Especially as “freenets” become “citynets”, which tend to require security, roaming, and management control.

    Sputnik also supports subscription access and other business models.

    With the RADIUS module (introductory price $295), centralized account management for a wide variety of remote and local authentication is supported. It enables end users to roam across networks and provides customized service for each user. Sputnik has packaged inexpensive, outdoor/indoor hotspots with centralized management in one, cost/effective package.

    Laptops with 802.11b are available at Wal-Mart for less than $600 – about the cost of some reference books.

    How much would 10 nodes in library branches and 100 nodes around your town cost? How much money would it save? How much money would “splash page” advertising generate?

    Do the math.

    HotSpot Amsterdam

    WiFiNetNews reports that Amsterdam is planning a WiFi city cloud. HotSpot Amsterdam, will surpass other Amsterdam WiFi nodes, with some 125 base stations planned to cover all of Amsterdam:

    WiFiNetNews says;

    The company is mainly targeting expats, students, and people who share accommodation. Those types of residents may be reluctant to have DSL or cable installed in their location if they don t intend to stay long term.

    Subscribers will pay just under 15 Euros per month for a 256 Kbps connection. The operator may be smart to target a transient population and offer a low price because it will likely struggle at least initially to ensure that coverage and capacity are adequate.

    Hopling Technologies, “the world-leading provider of wireless meshed network solutions” will deploy the network. Every Hopling mark-II dual-band node employs an innovative method for routing IP packets between nodes. It allows these nodes to pass these packets through their neighbors to nodes with which they cannot directly communicate. A Hopling mark-II mesh router is also able to handle changes in routes and can create new routes if it encounters an error. The seamless network provides VPN security and additional access security.

    The Port of Amsterdam installed a WiFi network three months ago, covering its 30 square kilometers, but that network is not for public use. The Port of Amsterdam WiFi network covers the harbour’s 12 square miles using equipment from Radionet of Finland, which needed just 19 base stations. The Port of Amsterdam is the fifth largest port in Europe.

    The Port of Seattle uses Vivato phased arrays. Tideworks Technology installed four Vivato 802.11b switches and a few repeaters to cover 190 acres of the outdoor containerized terminal.

    MuniWireless covers municipal wireless projects, especially in Europe.

    Charter Cable Goes VoIP

    Telephony Magazine says Charter Communications has announced deals with Sprint and Level 3 to provide long-distance and local VoIP service, as well as a provisioning contract with Accenture, giving it the last key components necessary for a nationwide deployment of IP telephony.

    Charter, which counts Microsoft founder Paul Allen among its major owners and investors, has spent heavily on upgrading its cable systems for broadband and digital cable systems that deliver video on demand. It counts just under one million broadband subscribers out of a total of 6.7 million cable subscribers. Charter is the nation’s third-largest cable provider. Comcast is the largest with 21.4 million subscribers and Time-Warner is second with about 12 million subscribers.

    Charter said it would begin to accelerate its deployment of VoIP from its initial three markets (Madison and Wausau, Wis., and St. Louis) to its nationwide footprint. Charter s goal is to have 1 million homes passed with packet telephony by the end of the year and service available in all five of its regional divisions, though not in all 37 states it holds franchises.

    “We re expediting our rollout,” a Charter spokesman said. “Our plans are much more ambitious with these agreements than they would be without them.”

    Sprint will provide wholesale long-distance transport services and Level 3 will supply its Link Private Line services to interconnect Charter s facilities within markets.

    Engadget’s How-To Tuesday, explains how to use Vonage Voice Over IP with a WiFi equipped Pocket PC. You can turn just about any Pocket PC into a real telephone with a working telephone number says Phillip.