The Washington Post doesn't begin to describe what Koolspan, the company with the bad name, does: But I spoke with Koolspan's vice president of marketing at a conference a few weeks ago and got the scoop.
Koolspan is marketing a smart card solution that authenticates users and encrypts data over Wi-Fi networks. The solution is designed for small to medium sized businesses that don't already have a RADIUS server for authentication.
Customers must load software onto their APs which allows the APs to recognize user keys and authenticate the users.
End users have a smart card that plugs into the USB port of their computer. The card encrypts the data sent from the laptop. The data is decrypted by an appliance that sits in the enterprise network, where the data is sent onward. The card supports 802.1X and performs AES encryption.
The nice thing about smart cards is that they essentially authenticate the user. A user inputs a password to release the keys on the smart card. That means that it's virtually impossible for two people to log on as the same user at the same time.
Gemplus, a maker of smart cards (or subscriber identity modules, SIM cards) for GSM networks, is also making a solution aimed at securing Wi-Fi networks. Smart card solutions have a better chance of taking off in Europe where all cell phones already use SIM cards but it's a secure solution that's worth looking at in the U.S.