TUCoPS :: Networks :: Wireless :: wapinope.txt

ISO rejects China's WAPI wireless security protocol

Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 02:12:40 -0600 (CST)
Subject: [ISN] ISO rejects China's WAPI wireless security protocol


By Stephen Lawson
MARCH 13, 2006

The International Standards Organization (ISO) last week rejected a
security protocol that was backed by some Chinese representatives as
an amendment to the group's wireless LAN standard.

The ISO turned down the Chinese technology, called the WLAN
Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI), in voting to adopt
the IEEE 802.11i security specification that was developed by the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., according to a
member of the IEEE 802.11 Working Group who asked not to be named
because of working group rules.

The ISO, a network of standards institutes that overlooks
specifications in a wide variety of fields, routinely adopts IEEE
802.11 standards and incorporates them into its body of
specifications, the IEEE working group member said.

The Chinese government said that it would continue to support WAPI and
that the rejection by the ISO would not affect use of WAPI in China,
according to an online article by China's official Xinhua news

Votes at the ISO on adopting amendments to IEEE 802.11 standards
normally aren't controversial, the working group member said.

"At least in 802.11, there's never been anyone who's brought in a
proposal that wasn't developed in 802.11," he said.

The IEEE approved 802.11i in 2004. China's government at one time
proposed forcing foreign companies to license WAPI but later dropped
those plans.

A document from the IEEE 802.11 Working Group indicates that
resistance to incorporating WAPI into an international wireless LAN
standard has grown amid concerns about secrecy, namely the use of an
undisclosed algorithm in the protocol.

Last week, 22 Chinese companies announced the formation of a group
called the WAPI Industrial Union to promote adoption of WAPI. The
group claimed its protocol offers better security than 802.11i.

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