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Microsoft, Wayport Claim Success in 802.1x Trial

Microsoft Corp. and Wayport Inc., a supplier of Wi-Fi and wired high-speed Internet access in airports and hotels, Wednesday claimed success in a pilot of the 802.1x security standard on Microsoft Windows XP at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac).

Microsoft Corp. provided support for the 802.1x standard in XP to create enhanced security for users of Wi-Fi or 802.11b wireless networks. Wayport and the software giant began the public test at Sea-Tac in May 2001. Microsoft employees using laptops equipped with XP tested the features of 802.1x at the airport, where Wayport offers Wi-Fi wireless access throughout all terminals and gates.

"Based on the successful results of the Sea-Tac trial, Windows XP users will be pleased with the added security features and ease-of-use that 802.1x will bring them," said John Frederiksen, general manager of marketing for Windows at Microsoft Corp.

802.1x is a standards-based solution for port-level authentication for a wired or wireless Ethernet client system. It was designed for wired networks, but is also applicable to Wi-Fi wireless LANs.

Wayport said 802.1x solves security issues with the wired equivalency protocol (WEP), which is used for authentication and encryption services for 802.11b networks. The standard has a key management protocol -- which provides keys automatically -- built into its specification. For added security, the keys can be changed rapidly at set intervals.

Microsoft has provided for zero configuration support for the standard in XP, allowing a user with a laptop and wireless adapter card to automatically detect and connect to wireless access points within range.

"The testing of Windows XP and 802.1x is an important step forward for security in the wireless industry," said Dave Vucina, chief executive officer of Wayport.