NextComm Debuts Wireless Key Hopping Technology

Kirkland, Wash.-based NextComm Inc. Wednesday launched its Key Hopping technology, intended to improve the security of 802.11a and 802.11b standards used in wireless local area networks.

The technology is based on MD5, a technology used in secure credit card authentication over the wireline Internet. The technology uses a key management system that allows the radio to switch security keys on a frequent basis to inhibit intruders from adapting to air traffic and breaking the encryption.

The Key Hopping technology will be first used in NextComm’s upcoming NC7010, an 802.11b Media Access Controller IC. NextComm said it plans to work with OEMs to implement Key Hopping on both sides of 802.11b networks — with end user access cards as well as in access points. NextComm said the technology will undergo trials in October, and wireless LAN products featuring Key Hopping are slated for production by the end of the year.

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