D-Link Announces WPA Plans

D-Link Systems of Irvine, Calif., this week announced that it will be providing
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) encryption to the majority of its wireless networking
product lines, including:

  • AirPlus, its line of 802.11b+ products that use the Texas Instruments
    chipset to get data rates of 22Mbps
  • AirPremiere, D-Link’s enterprise class 802.11b with 802.1X support
    (which currently consists of a single access point, the DWL-1000AP+, using
    the same 802.11b+ from TI)
  • AirPlus XtremeG, the line of 802.11g products
  • AirXpert AGB, as the name implies, a multi-mode set of products supporting
  • Not in the announcement, but also getting WPA is the AirPro line
    of 802.11a and 11ab units

The only products not getting WPA support are the original Air line of 802.11b
products, which have been discontinued in favor of the AirPlus products. A D-Link
spokesperson says there are really only a couple of products left
that D-Link sells that even fall in the Air category, and even those will soon have AirPlus 802.11b+ replacements. The original 802.11b Air line will continue to have WEP only.

As for timing, he believes that WPA upgrades could be available as a free download
at http://support.dlink.com as soon
as the middle of this month, but officially the company is saying before the
end of June. The delay is because D-Link has to get WPA implementations from
each of the chip vendors it uses (including TI, Atheros, and Intersl). They’ll
release the upgrades as they become available.

Set forth by the Wi-Fi Alliance, WPA is
a subset of the soon to be ratified 802.11i security standard. It is meant to
replace the much vilified Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) currently used in most
802.11 products until 802.11i is readily available. WPA uses either Advanced
Encryption Standard (AES) or Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) for encryption.
802.11i will require hardware-assisted AES support; firmware upgrades for the AirPro (on the 11a side only) and AirXpert lines will enable AES. The remainder of D-Link’s will have to stay with WPA for full security.

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