802.11r - R is for 'Radar, not on the'By CWNP On 09/08/2008 - 9 Comments
I'm shocked. I've been pinging infrastructure manufacturers, VoWiFi manufacturers, client vendors, and anyone else who will eventually add a new form of standardized key management to their equipment. Everyone says basically the same thing, 'It's on our roadmap, but not a big priority at this time.' They all elude to the fact that they are either waiting on the Wi-Fi Alliance to finalize the Voice-Enterprise certification or they are waiting to see what other vendors are doing.
This obviously struck me as odd considering how importance fast, secure roaming is to so many applications in today's wireless marketplace. VoWiFi, Video, RTLS, custom applications - the list is endless. So, the first thing I did is checked with a friend of mine at the Wi-Fi Alliance to get the scoop on when Voice-Enterprise is likely to be finalized. Get this: May 2009 at the earliest. Holy smokes batman. The Voice-Personal certification was released back in June 2008, and since then, only a few products have become certified. Voice-Personal requires, as pre-requisites, WMM, WMM-PS (for APs), and WPA2 certifications.
Single Channel Architecture (SCA) vendors have the least to worry about in this market because they promote an RF environment where roaming isn't required unless the infrastructure system purposefully wants to force clients to other channels for load-balancing purposes. In a case like this, making a fast/secure roam is a handy thing. For Multiple Channel Architecture (MCA) vendors, we only currently have Opportunistic Key Caching (OKC), which is extremely limited in its implementation (Microsoft's WZC and Juniper's OAC clients) on the client side and nearly as limited on the infrastructure side.
I can certainly see the wisdom of waiting for the Wi-Fi Alliance to develop a test regimen for interoperability. I would do the same as a vendor. However, as a vendor, I would be screaming 'LET'S GO FASTER!' to the Wi-Fi Alliance each and every day in regards to Voice-Enterprise. Granted, 802.11r (and it's little sister 802.11k) aren't the end-all of fast/secure roaming, but hey, it's all we have, so let's use it! So, to borrow a line from my mumbling 16 year old daughter... 'I'm just sayin....'