Last Post: April 11, 2005:
I have this more or less officially from both Cisco and Proxim - neither vendor will be offering the ability to upgrade their 802.11b radio equipment to support the latest security standards.
I am unclear as to why this is, but since I have it from two reliable vendors, I am assuming there are technical issues.
I am told that B client nics are upgradable to support WPA2 / 802.11i when connected to a compliant G radio.
My question - what is the technical reason for this? I have heard that it has to do with B radio operation - CCK or something. But I have yet to hear an explanation that makes sense to me. The CCK one seems iffy, because a G radio uses CCK to communicate to a B client, does it not?
Not finger pointing. I assume that because two different vendors have given me the same answer that there is a technical reason.
BTW, it was like pulling teeth to get Cisco to confirm this. I had no problem getting an answer from Proxim.
Long time since your post.
WPA2/802.11i require support for CCMP/AES encryption. My impression is that this will only be supported with late generation (2005) ERP (802.11g) and OFDM (802.11a) clients and access points. Little if any equipment manufactured prior to 2004 will be field upgradable for CCMP.
WPA1, which introduced TKIP before it was standardized in 802.11i, was designed for field upgradability of legacy equipment, but not all. My impression is that most HR/DSSS (802.11b) and later clients, but not all HR/DSSS access points, have firmware upgrades available from their vendors.
For example, Apple supports WPA1 on Airport (802.11b) and Airport Extreme (802.11g) clients and Airport Extreme/Express access points but not Airport access points.
I hope this helps. Thanks. /criss
In addition to Criss's comments, put another way, WPA was built on top of WEP and the whole idea was that the industry wasn't ready to wait for the standards body to come to any decision with WPA2.
So, something quick and dirty that could be achieved with a simple software upgrade (as the underlying encryption was still based on RC4) was designed and ended up being called WPA.
With WPA2 or 802.11i, the industry moved to AES hence requiring more cycles and a hardware upgrade.
Hope I didn't confuse you.