Microsoft releases new wireless solutions

The new solution is intended to be a replacement for the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) standard and offers more-robust methods of data encryption and network authentication. The result is a newlevel of protection for customers taking advantage of the wireless features in Windows XP.

“Customers tell us the wireless experience with Windows XP represents a huge leap forward in terms of ease of use. Yet, even with these enhancements, many IT managers are hesitant to enable wireless connectivity in their organizations due to security concerns,” said Jawad Khaki, corporate vice president of Windows Networking and Communications Technologies at Microsoft. “With standards-based Wi-Fi Protected Access, customers can have more confidence their data will be safer and more secure.”

Wi-Fi Protected Access increases security on two fronts: data encryption and user authentication. To improve data encryption, Wi-Fi Protected Access resolves existing cryptographic weaknesses and introduces a method to generate and distribute encryption keys automatically. Each bit of data is now encrypted with a unique encryption key, greatly improving security. The solution also introduces an integrity check on the data so an attacker cannot modify packets of information being communicated. And to improve enterprise-level user authentication, Wi-Fi Protected Access authenticates every user on the network while keeping those users from joining rogue networks.

The addition of Wi-Fi Protected Access to Windows XP systems builds on the investments Microsoft has already made in the wireless experience. The new security enhancements add to the Wi-Fi wireless functionality built into Windows XP, delivering on one of the operating system’s key design goals: to make Wi-Fi connectivity as easy as possible for users. Windows XP also offers auto-configuration, which allows users to connect to a Wi-Fi wireless network with just one click, a vast improvement over previous versions of the Windows operating system.

Wi-Fi Protected Access also represents a step toward 802.11i, a standard being developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.’s Standards Working Group for Wireless Local Area Networks. Microsoft has been working with many members of the Wi-Fi Alliance, including Agere Systems Inc., Broadcom Corp., Intel Corp., Intersil Corp., Linksys Group Inc., Proxim Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc., to ensure that Windows XP customers can apply Wi-Fi Protected Access and receive the benefits of enhanced security today, then seamlessly upgrade to 802.11i once it is available.

“Wi-Fi Protected Access meets customers’ needs for an end-to-end, standards-based security solution that can be applied to both new and existing wireless LAN products,” said Edward Frank, senior director of Engineering of the Client Server Networking Business Unit at Broadcom. “Broadcom is proud to be a close development partner with Microsoft to enable our customers to address their security concerns.”

“Protecting home and business Wi-Fi wireless networks from outside attackers is one of our highest of priorities,” said Matt McRae, director of broadband services at Linksys. “Security is key to adding peace of mind and driving adoption of wireless networking. Adding WPA functionality to our wireless products and Windows XP will enable a better user experience while protecting and enhancing privacy for business data and family members surfing the Web.”

Gartner Dataquest forecasts the penetration rate of wireless local area networks (WLANs) into the professional mobile PC installed base will grow from 9 percent in 2000 to almost 50 percent by the end of 2003, and the rate is expected to surpass 90 percent by 2007. Gartner also advises enterprises that have already deployed WLAN products to upgrade to the Wi-Fi Protected Access versions of those products as they become available.2 Because WPA will work with products on the market today, enterprises can benefit immediately from its implementation.

“If customers are concerned about the security of their Wi-Fi networks, they need to move as quickly as possible to implement Wi-Fi Protected Access,” said William Arbaugh, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Maryland. “WPA addresses known security issues and provides a smooth upgrade path for future security enhancements to Wi-Fi networking.”

AvailabilityThe Windows XP upgrade supporting Wi-Fi Protected Access is available as a free1 download for both enterprise and home users at


Microsoft to separate Cortana from search with the next version of Windows 10

Changes are on the way for two key features in Windows 10. A separation of Windows 10 search and Cortana will allow Microsoft to more often innovate on each of the features independently.

An update to Microsoft To-Do will help you keep up with your resolutions

If you're looking to stay productive in 2019, you might want to check out the freshly updated Microsoft To-Do app, now with additional integration with the Windows 10 Start Menu and more.

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.

Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 one year from now

Microsoft is set to end extended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, putting a halt on the free bug fixes, and security patches for most who have the operating system installed. 

Dell teases new XPS laptop with Intel’s 10th-gen Ice Lake for summer 2019

After teasing a mysterious Ice Lake-powered XPS laptop during Intel's keynote, Dell confirmed that it will announce a new 10th-generation Ice Lake-powered XPS laptop this year. The new XPS notebook could debut as early as summer.

Faster new PCIe 5.0 standard leapfrogs the best feature of AMD’s Ryzen 3

PCIe 5.0 will bring even faster data transfers, but it may only be found on HPCs and servers initially. The standard is four times faster than your current PC at transferring data, and new devices could appear later this year.

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for January 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.

Keep your laptop battery in tip-top condition with these handy tips

Learn how to care for your laptop's battery, how it works, and what you can do to make sure yours last for years and retains its charge. Check out our handy guide for valuable tips, no matter what type of laptop you have.

Protect your expensive new laptop with the best Macbook cases

If you recently picked up a new MacBook, you’ll want something to protect its gorgeous exterior. Here, we've gathered the best MacBook cases and covers, whether you're looking for style or protection.

Watch out for these top-10 mistakes people make when buying a laptop

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.

Don't spend a fortune on a PC. These are the best laptops under $300

Buying a laptop needn't mean spending a fortune. If you're just looking to browse the internet, answer emails, and watch Netflix, you can pick up a great laptop at a great price. These are the best laptops under $300.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Asus Zenbook 13: In battle of champions, who will be the victor?

The ZenBook 13 UX333 continues Asus's tradition of offering great budget-oriented 13-inch laptop offerings. Does this affordable machine offer enough value to compete with the excellent Dell XPS 13?
Product Review

LG Gram 14 proves 2-in-1 laptops don’t need to sacrifice battery for light weight

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 aims to be very light for a laptop that converts to a tablet. And it is. But it doesn’t skimp on the battery, and so it lasts a very long time on a charge.

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.