A few days ago, I wrote a rather tetchy article about Microsoft reinventing the wheel: Windows Rally will appear in Microsoft Vista some day in the far off future when that OS ships (January? February? March?), and it will incorporate a simplified Wi-Fi security setup and automatic discovery of multimedia and peripheral devices across a network. I say bravo to the concept, but no points for originality: chipmakers, Buffalo, and the Wi-Fi Alliance all had either working or proposed simplified security methods.
A Microsoftee posted comments on my item that, in fact, Rally would incorporate Simple Config, an approved proposal from the Wi-Fi Alliance. I said, Simple Config? Frank Hanzlik, the Wi-Fi Alliance's managing director, explained to me this morning that Simple Config isn't quite as simple as all that.
Simple Config is a working title for the technology, which they plan to have a better public name for. It's not fully cooked, although the plan is for a release in fall. The specification will be available to those who aren't members of the alliance for a small fee. Microsoft's announcement was a bit ahead of the alliance's plans; Microsoft is on the board.
Hanzlik said that there is "a lot of great support within the industry for it," which makes sense given how often setting security has proven to be beyond ordinary users. Simple Config will use Diffie-Hellman key exchange to encrypt communications in establishing the security key, and will have a variety of options for confirmation out of band: a PIN, a push button (a la Buffalo's AOSS), near-field communications, and USB dongles.