Standard roams the Wi-Fi, cellular range

A proposed Wi-Fi security standard for office systems is finding another use in technology that promises to let people roam easily between cell phone and Wi-Fi networks.

Gemplus announced Thursday that it is working with Transat Technologies on including Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) technology in its smart cards, making it one of the first companies to develop the standard for devices that will roam between Wi-Fi and cell phone networks. Smart cards, found behind the batteries of cell phones, store a subscriber's account and billing information.

"For now, EAP is a very small part of the market," Transat CEO John Baker said. "But we're already seeing a lot of businesses show interest in EAP. So this is the future way to go."

Luxembourg-based Gemplus, which sold 100 million thumbnail-size smart cards to cell phone makers last year, already packs its smart cards with Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), a security standard expected to become part of Wi-Fi networks--wireless networks with a radius of around 300 feet--in coffee shops and other commercial areas. EAP is provides much stronger security protection than WPA, via better encryption and one-time passwords, for example.

EAP technology will likely be used mostly in offices or other professional environments that rely more heavily on secured networks, Philippe Martineau, a Gemplus vice president, said.

News source: CNET News - Standard roams the Wi-Fi, cellular range

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