WPA Upgrades - Part II

Reader feedback to our earlier report on WLAN manufacturers' plans to provide WPA upgrades indicates another potential dissatisfier for D-Link WLAN product owners, as well as some potentially unhappy NETGEAR customers.Although we caught the fact that D-Link omitted its 11b-only Air line from the list of products that will be upgraded, alert readers pointed out that D-Link also left its AirPro 802.11a/b+ line off the list.

Our query to NETGEAR about its WPA upgrade plans brought another disappointing response: NETGEAR ...will make available a free firmware upgrade (via download) in June for its currently shipping 802.11g and 802.11a+g products, including the WG511, WG602 & WGR614, WAG511, initially, and will of course extend to our other g & a/g products that will be shipping throughout summer. We are currently investigating the feasibility of providing WPA support on some of our 802.11b products.... The reason that some of NETGEAR's 802.11a and 802.11b equipment may not be able to be upgraded to support WPA encryption is that the equipment would require additional engineering work and testing. Our current 802.11g equipment incorporated WPA engineering specs from the IEEE during manufacturing, therefore a simple firmware upgrade will be made available to "activate" the WPA.

A final tip comes WLAN chipmaker Atheros , which said it had no plans to provide WPA upgrades for its 802.11a-only reference designs. This, of course, means that you won't be seeing any WPA-enabled 802.11a-only products, since Atheros has 100% of the 802.11a-only market. But given the relatively small volume of 802.11a products shipped, Atheros' position probably won't be causing as much customer aggravation as D-Link's and NETGEAR's.

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