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WAPI Technology Gains Acceptance in Non-governmental Sector

Despite failing to become the internationally recognized standard, China's home-grown wireless security technology appears to be gaining acceptance of China's non-governmental sector.


On the first day of the annual China Hi-tech Fair held in Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong Province, WAPI Industrial Alliance signed agreements with Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center, CERNET and ItopHome to promote the use of WAPI technology.


"This represents the technology's first breakthrough in the non-governmental market," said Li Jinliang, a telecom expert.


CERNET builds wireless networks for colleges, and ItopHome is a Chinese organization making standards for home wireless products.


New wireless networks built on campus by CERNET will adopt WAPI and the more than 200 members of ITopHome will also use WAPI in their wireless network products for home use such as refrigerators, TV sets and air-conditioners.


A survey with the Ministry of Education shows that only 15.1 percent of Chinese universities have built wireless networks on campus but 36.2 percent of the universities plan to build such networks.


The main reason WAPI was adopted was because it offered better security, said CERNET. ItopHome said the same. Home wireless networking is just beginning in China and security is especially important.


WAPI, which stands for Wired Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure, closed a security loophole that exists in the 802.11 standard of wireless local area networks (WLAN).


Developed by IWNCOMM, a private company in northwest China's City of Xi'an, WAPI attracted wide attention from both domestic and overseas IT markets for its sound security.


Currently many wireless products are based on 802.11 standards which is owned by by Intel.


While China's WAPI effectively closed the security loophole in 802.11, it could not win wide application overseas, said Li, who is a member of the science and technology committee under the Ministry of Information Industry.


WAPI was selected as national standard in 2003. On Dec. 30 last year, China issued a circular, saying that government departments should give priority to products meeting national security standards when purchasing wireless network products, including computers, printers, telecommunications equipment, copy machines and projectors.


"The enforcement of government procurement will help the WAPI standard become stronger," said Li, adding that "its use in new areas this time means that non-governmental forces are promoting the spread of the technology."


(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2006)


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