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3Com Embraces 802.1x for Wireless Security

Santa Clara, Calif.-based 3Com Corp. Monday threw its weight behind the IEEE 802.1x authentication standard, calling it an important addition to its security strategy for wireless networks.

IEEE 802.1x is a key feature of Microsoft Corp.'s new Windows XP OS. It provides a "network login" capability between PCs and edge networking infrastructure. 3Com said it will implement the standard in its wireless LAN platforms for enterprise, small business and public access.

The move to embrace IEEE 802.1x is yet another step in 3Com's new wireless strategy of providing a layered approach to security and allowing customers to choose the solutions they prefer for their network environments. The company has already given support to 40-bit shared key WEP, defined in the Wi-Fi (or IEEE 802.11b) standard. It also supports more robust layer 3 VPN solutions, like IPSec or PPTP, for larger organizations that rely on RADIUS-based authentication and authorization. Additionally, 3Com supports an alternative VPN approach utilizing 128-bit Dynamic Session Key security for smaller sites that don't use RADIUS.

3Com said it will ship 802.1x in its line of business and public access LAN solutions when the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) approves a final standard in the second half of 2001.