I posed the question yesterday: have any 802.11b cards released before 2003 received WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) upgrades via firmware: Apple released theirs last week, as I noted last night, allowing AirPort Cards to support the newer, robust WPA security for encrypting network traffic.
Several readers pointed me to WPA upgrades that span from June to December of last year. Linksys released a WPC11 v3.0 WPA patch in June. The WPC11 v3 was one of their best selling Wi-Fi cards.
Agere offers firmware upgrades for its older products (Hermes 1), although it advises that you contact co-branded OEM of your card, instead of using these. The Hermes 1 radio system is in a few dozen cards, including the Orinoco 802.11b models; download the Windows drivers, unzip, and read the Readme file for the full list. This page also includes a link to Linux source code, too, but I'm not sure if the firmware update is encapsulated in it.
Proxim, which purchased the Agere Wi-Fi line-up last year, changed their white paper that stated several months ago that drivers for the Orinoco 802.11b Silver and Gold cards would be available to this latest version, which states they will not. (If that URL doesn't work, search for WPA in the KnowledgeBase and follow the link "Where can I find information on Proxim and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)?") Still, you can use the Agere link above.
Specific vendors have released support, however, as Agere notes. Here's the link from Dec. 15, 2003, for the Dell TrueMobile 1150.
Older Intersil Prism-based access points and gateways, including the AirPort Base Station, aren't upgradable to WPA. However, the hostap project allows you to take an older Prism card from an AP, plug it into a Linux box, and have a revised WPA-supported AP, although not a freestanding device--unless it's a wee tiny Linux computer. Read the site for more details. Work is still underway There's also a project to provide open-source drivers with WPA supplicants, as noted here.
Thanks to everyone who wrote in ("Shaxx Shaxx," Stan Chesnutt, Jim Thompson).