When do you think 802.11i will be ratified? Will there be a practical benefit to upgrading to this new standard? Will it require significant hardware upgrades to do so?
Based on what I've seen and heard, 802.11i should be ratified by mid-2004. The
802.11i status page
shows positive notes from the previous meetings -- the last of which was in November 2003. There are definitely benefits to upgrading to this standard including:
- Support for AES encryption
- Mandatory 128-bit encryption keys
- Strong authentication via EAP, PEAP, and LEAP
- The blocking of all network activity until user authentication takes place increased security in the de-authentication and disassociation phases
- Centralized login management
Having said that, if you've already implemented WPA and/or other practical security measures for your WLAN, I think that most organizations' networks will be plenty secure. The AES support in 802.11i will require hardware upgrades so be sure to check with your manufacturer(s) to see what their upgrade plans and options are for this.