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Linksys simplifies wireless security

Wi-fi security at the push of a button

A one-button setup technology that Cisco Systems' Linksys division and chip maker Broadcom developed
for secure wireless LANs finally has finally arrived.

The SecureEasySetup (SES) technology is designed to make it easier for consumers to set up wireless LANs with WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), a security system
approved by the Wi-Fi Alliance industry group.

SES consists of firmware for routers and access points, as well as a software utility for client devices such as PC Card adapters.

Users will be able to set up a WPA wireless LAN by simply clicking a software button in the setup utility and pressing a physical button that has been built in to routers and access points since earlier this year in preparation for SES.

Previously, users had to manually set up and enter an SSID (Service Set Identifier) and an encryption key and write them down for safekeeping, a series of steps that many customers
found too hard.

Lack of security has dogged consumer wireless LANs, partly because many users never even set up the systems that come with the gear.

Linksys worked on SES with Broadcom, which supplies the chips in Linksys's wireless routers but not in its client adapters. It was announced in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show.

WPA is an improvement on the original WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) protocol that shipped with early Wi-Fi gear. Linksys has started to roll out the latest security technology, WPA2, across its router line.

Routers equipped for WPA2 are backward compatible with WPA, and WPA products can be upgraded through a
firmware download, according to the company.

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