Review: Three Wi-Fi Security Providers - InformationWeek

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Review: Three Wi-Fi Security Providers

The services allow small and medium-sized businesses to secure wireless LANs using consumer-grade wireless access points. Are they any good?

Getting Set Up

Both SecureMyWiFi and BoxedWireless.com support all compatible 802.1X clients, including the built-in software in Windows XP and Mac OS X 10.3 and later. Free open-source software from Open1x.org will work for compatible Unix, BSD, and Linux flavors. WSC Guard is a Windows-only package that works on several versions of Windows: 98, Me, 2000, and XP.

All three services use WPA-Enterprise, which is Wi-Fi Protected Access TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) encryption keys coupled with 802.1X authentication.

Under Windows XP SP2, I used both Microsoft’s built-in 802.1X client, which is embedded in its Wireless Networks Properties dialog boxes, and the Meetinghouse Aegis client, which is available for many platforms. On the Mac, I used the built-in 802.1X client found in the Internet Connect application which supports EAP-TLS, EAP-TTLS, and PEAP, among other flavors.

SecureMyWiFi and BoxedWireless.com include instructions on configuring Windows and Mac OS X to use 802.1X as well as configuring each access point by setting up WPA-Enterprise RADIUS settings. Making these changes was relatively simple; I recommend connecting via a LAN Ethernet port for greatest reliability.

With WSC Guard, the setup software can automatically configure a number of major-brand wireless APs to talk to WSC’s servers. WSC Guard can also be set so that one machine on the network is a manual or automatic fail-safe server that operates at a lower level of static security if the Internet connection is disrupted.

All three services use secure Web site-based administration tools to handle managing account settings and downloading certificates, if needed.

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