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Rumor: China's Homegrown WAPI Standard Remains Unused

IT-Times, 7/04/11

An IT Times reporter found recently that although China's own WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI) wireless networking standard is available as a standard option for wireless equipment, it is seldom actually used. A source in the wireless division of a provincial-level telecom operator said that while WAPI is supported in all of its public wireless internet access equipment and the wireless equipment it provides to customers, the feature had not been activated in practice.

A technician surnamed Hou at Ruijie Networks, one of the members of the WAPI Industry Alliance, said that the company's wireless networking products for enterprise and operator customers all supported WAPI -- but that "essentially none" of the clients he had dealt with had ever used WAPI security. Most, Hou said, used the competing WPA or WPA2 security standards.

Miao Yan, a networking products department employee at IP technology provider H3C Technologies, said that some of the access points for "Wireless City" projects being developed by telecom operators currently had no encryption. If operators were to use WAPI for security, it could change users' security habits.

A technician at an overseas wireless networking products manufacturer, meanwhile, said that the lack of WAPI support on many terminals meant that "nobody" used the technology.

Recent data from the WAPI Industry Alliance showed that a total of more than 1 bln new WLAN chips worldwide had implemented hardware support for WAPI. Over 79 members belong to the WAPI Industry Alliance at present, and over 1,000 products, including the iPhone 4, support the standard.

Keywords: Miao Yan security standard wireless Ruijie WAPI WAPI Industry Alliance wireless city wireless networking wireless broadband industry association

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