November 24, 2008 - Vision Systems GmbH - Data communication specialist -
announces WPA2 encryption in the NetCom WLAN Serial Device Servers.
Using a new WLAN chipset RT2561T the NetCom 123 WLAN, NetCom 423 WLAN and NetCom 823RM WLAN
offer the complete range of encryption on Wireless LAN. This function requires the new
Firmware version 2.6.0 available for download.
Already purchased devices may also use the new Firmware. If these devices are already equipped
with RT2561T they also get the WPA2 function. For older hardware an upgrade is possible by
simply replacing the internal miniPCI WLAN card with a new model.
Encryption on wireless networks is very important to secure the data transmissions.
It depends on the application if reading the data by unauthorized parties is already a problem,
but injection of malicious data from outside really causes trouble. Therefore wireless networks
came with encryption to protect the connections.
The first encryption known as WEP is totally useless nowadays. Using freely available software
gains access to such networks in just a minute or less. It doesn't matter if WEP uses long keys,
or if the keys are strong.
To counteract these attacks the manufactures of WLAN components implemented stronger cypher
alghorithms, known as TKIP and AES. TKIP is a modification of WEP to avoid the weaknesses in WEP,
and became implemented first. Together with some other options it came to the market named as WPA.
It was available in the NetCom WLAN with firmware version 2.2. In WPA the encryption key is 256 bits
wide, and WPA was considered secure from then on. Today there are rumors about possible attacks,
but so far there is no practical danger.
WPA2 is the market name for encryption using AES-256 as the cypher. AES is a new standard for
encryption of any data, so far there is not even a theoretical attack against this. With WPA2 the
wireless data is protected against any attack, provided the keys are strong. The keys are similar
to those of TKIP, i.e. 256 bit wide. They are either entered direct in binary (hexadecimal) format,
or derived from SSID and a strong password.