Email Delivery

Receive new posts as email.

Email address

Syndicate this site

RSS | Atom


About This Site
Contact Us
Privacy Policy


November 2010
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

Stories by Category

Basics :: Basics
Casting :: Casting Listen In Podcasts Videocasts
Culture :: Culture Hacking
Deals :: Deals
Future :: Future
Hardware :: Hardware Adapters Appliances Chips Consumer Electronics Gaming Home Entertainment Music Photography Video Gadgets Mesh Monitoring and Testing PDAs Phones Smartphones
Industry :: Industry Conferences Financial Free Health Legal Research Vendor analysis
International :: International
Media :: Media Locally cached Streaming
Metro-Scale Networks :: Metro-Scale Networks Community Networking Municipal
Network Types :: Network Types Broadband Wireless Cellular 2.5G and 3G 4G Power Line Satellite
News :: News Mainstream Media
Politics :: Politics Regulation Sock Puppets
Schedules :: Schedules
Security :: Security 802.1X
Site Specific :: Site Specific Administrative Detail April Fool's Blogging Book review Cluelessness Guest Commentary History Humor Self-Promotion Unique Wee-Fi Who's Hot Today?
Software :: Software Open Source
Spectrum :: Spectrum 60 GHz
Standards :: Standards 802.11a 802.11ac 802.11ad 802.11e 802.11g 802.11n 802.20 Bluetooth MIMO UWB WiGig WiMAX ZigBee
Transportation and Lodging :: Transportation and Lodging Air Travel Aquatic Commuting Hotels Rails
Unclassified :: Unclassified
Vertical Markets :: Vertical Markets Academia Enterprise WLAN Switches Home Hot Spot Aggregators Hot Spot Advertising Road Warrior Roaming Libraries Location Medical Public Safety Residential Rural SOHO Small-Medium Sized Business Universities Utilities wISP
Voice :: Voice


November 2010 | October 2010 | September 2010 | August 2010 | July 2010 | June 2010 | May 2010 | April 2010 | March 2010 | February 2010 | January 2010 | December 2009 | November 2009 | October 2009 | September 2009 | August 2009 | July 2009 | June 2009 | May 2009 | April 2009 | March 2009 | February 2009 | January 2009 | December 2008 | November 2008 | October 2008 | September 2008 | August 2008 | July 2008 | June 2008 | May 2008 | April 2008 | March 2008 | February 2008 | January 2008 | December 2007 | November 2007 | October 2007 | September 2007 | August 2007 | July 2007 | June 2007 | May 2007 | April 2007 | March 2007 | February 2007 | January 2007 | December 2006 | November 2006 | October 2006 | September 2006 | August 2006 | July 2006 | June 2006 | May 2006 | April 2006 | March 2006 | February 2006 | January 2006 | December 2005 | November 2005 | October 2005 | September 2005 | August 2005 | July 2005 | June 2005 | May 2005 | April 2005 | March 2005 | February 2005 | January 2005 | December 2004 | November 2004 | October 2004 | September 2004 | August 2004 | July 2004 | June 2004 | May 2004 | April 2004 | March 2004 | February 2004 | January 2004 | December 2003 | November 2003 | October 2003 | September 2003 | August 2003 | July 2003 | June 2003 | May 2003 | April 2003 | March 2003 | February 2003 | January 2003 | December 2002 | November 2002 | October 2002 | September 2002 | August 2002 | July 2002 | June 2002 | May 2002 | April 2002 | March 2002 | February 2002 | January 2002 | December 2001 | November 2001 | October 2001 | September 2001 | August 2001 | July 2001 | June 2001 | May 2001 | April 2001 |

Recent Entries

In-Flight Wi-Fi and In-Flight Bombs
Can WPA Protect against Firesheep on Same Network?
Southwest Sets In-Flight Wi-Fi at $5
Eye-Fi Adds a View for Web Access
Firesheep Makes Sidejacking Easy
Wi-Fi Direct Certification Starts
Decaf on the Starbucks Digital Network
Google Did Snag Passwords
WiMax and LTE Not Technically 4G by ITU Standards
AT&T Wi-Fi Connections Keep High Growth with Free Service

Site Philosophy

This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator. Part of the FM Tech advertising network.


Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2010 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.

Powered by
Movable Type

« Belkin Uses Atheros Tech for A+G | Main | Charge Me Up »

January 5, 2005

Broadcom Pushes Wi-Fi Security with a Single Button

Bcm1160 Pr LowBroadcom announced a one-button WPA security system for home networks and consumer electronics: The new revision of Broadcom's system to make it easier to secure home networks without entering settings is called SecureEasySetup (formerly SecureEZSetup), and is backed initially by Linksys and HP in a press release; Buffalo Technologies separately confirmed that they will also support the system through firmware upgrades.

SecureEasySetup in its simplest form requires manufacturers of Wi-Fi equipment to put an external button on their devices. Pressing such a button on an access point or gateway and then, within a short interval, on a piece of equipment like a Wi-Fi PC Card, a Wi-Fi-equipped DVD/media player, or Voice over IP (VoIP) Wi-Fi phone causes a secure connection to be created between the device and the Wi-Fi router. A WPA Personal key is then provided to the device, enabling it to get on the network with no manual configuration.

This one-button approach can be simulated through client software as well for older devices or devices that don't have the form factor for an external button.

The initial pass on this system last year was welcome but a bit wonky and didn't catch on due to too many manual parts of the process. Broadcom took a page from Buffalo's AirStation One-touch Secure System (AOSS) and took it down to the fewest necessary steps--and no typing.

"All you need to do is press a button on a router, then press a button on the client and then you're done," said Jeff Abramowitz, the senior director of marketing for Broadcom's home and wireless networking business unit. This new system is designed to help people connect all kinds of devices, he said, not just wireless LAN equipment.

He noted that while today most home use involves computers and a gateway, manufacturers are rapidly releasing devices that rely on Wi-Fi as a means, such as Wi-Fi in televisions sets, automotive entertainment systems, and VoIP phones. There's no easy way to enable security with many of these categories of devices. Printers, particularly, are a problem to bring onto a secured network as more and more come with Wi-Fi built in or available through a dock or adapter. Web-based configuration tools for printers and even access points are beyond the level at which most consumers want to interact with their equipment.

Abramowitz said that although their announcement today at the Consumer Electronics Show was made in conjunction with Linksys and HP, Broadcom expects announcements throughout 2005 from consumer electronics makers, VoIP handset developers, and even PC manufacturers who can add a SecureEasySetup button to laptops and desktops. (The button itself, by the way, has no functionality other than to trigger a specific piece of software rather than firmware.)

Read the rest of the story...

The system is set up by first pressing a button on an access point, which then indicates through flashing lights or other signals that it's generating a long WPA Personal key and a unique SSID or network name. The combination of a unique network name and a full-length WPA Personal key eliminates the potential of cracking. (Dictionary-word-based keys in conjunction with default SSID names--like "default"--can be cracked through precomputed databases of short keys.)

After the initial setup, pressing the access point's button again puts it into a receptive mode. Pressing a software or hardware button on a client device initiates the key exchange through a secure tunnel. The only degree of insecurity would lie in someone initiating their own client exchange before the user's client had begun its process. But for home networks, it's unlikely to be a security issue. (Tools for WPA Enterprise are emerging for small offices that should obviate the need for a shared WPA Personal key in this manner, too.)

Abramowitz said that the SecureEasySetup standard would be made available to the Wi-Fi Alliance. "We initiated the task group that is currently in the Wi-Fi Alliance," he said. "Our objective is to create an industry standard." He added, "The good news for Broadcom at this point is that we're the largest player in the wireless LAN silicon marketspace. If we can grow the pie, then it obviously benefits us the most." Reducing the friction for security is one of the steps that helps keep users satisfied.

The SecureEasySetup system looks quite obviously like Buffalo Technology's AOSS, released in early 2004 for their AirStation product line. It's also appeared in a display device from Sharp. I spoke to Buffalo's Morikazu Sano, the vice president of marketing and public relations, to ask him how SecureEasySetup affects Buffalo's approach to the market. (Buffalo press release)


Sano said Buffalo wholeheartedly supports the Broadcom initiative, and Buffalo already has plans to integrate SecureEasySetup as a firmware upgrade for greater interoperability into its existing and future products. "Our messaging has been very very consistent: We would like to see the industry take this one push button method," Sano said. "This one-touch security setup method will help everybody to set these devices up wirelessly in the future, even my mother."

Sano said that he recently upgraded his home network with new (and some yet unreleased devices) from Buffalo all of which had AOSS buttons. He asked his 6-year-old daughter to set up the network security. "It didn't take her 15 minutes to connect four different devices with AOSS technology. She was very excited with pressing buttons and seeing the LED lights flashing quickly," Sano said.

The consumer electronics market is a big issue for Sano, too, who sees a broader acceptance of a single push security solution as aiding the sales of new home devices.

The only concern that might constrict the deployment of SecureEasySetup comes in the patent realm. Sano confirmed that Buffalo has filed for patents on AOSS and has not yet decided on licensing terms. Sano said, "The patent issue for others, we haven't really decided, but our main goal is letting everybody use it." He noted that Buffalo filed the patents defensively to avoid having the rug pulled out from under technology that they had invented.

Patents aside, EasySecureSetup should be a major force through just the initial companies announced--which represent significant parts of the Wi-Fi and printer worlds--in allowing home users to secure their networks with greater ease than ever before.

1 TrackBack

One button access to WPA encryption, huh? Better than that weak old WEP I guess. While its applications might be the subject of arguments, I think that it is pretty obvious that it has some real potential in the VoIP... Read More

1 Comment

It works just like my garage door opener and its remotes.