Wi-Fi Alliance Introduces WPA3, the Next Generation of Wi-Fi Security

The Wi-Fi Alliance has introduced Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3, the next generation of Wi-Fi security, bringing new capabilities to enhance Wi-Fi protections in personal and enterprise networks.

Building on the widespread adoption of WPA2 over more than a decade, WPA3 adds new features to simplify Wi-Fi security, enable more robust authentication, and deliver increased cryptographic strength for highly sensitive data markets. As the Wi-Fi industry transitions to WPA3 security, WPA2 devices will continue to interoperate and provide recognized security.

WPA3 security continues to support the market through two distinct modes of operation: WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Enterprise. All WPA3 networks will use the latest security methods, disallow outdated legacy protocols, and require use of Protected Management Frames (PMF) to maintain resiliency of mission critical networks. Key capabilities of WPA3 include:

  • WPA3-Personal: more resilient, password-based authentication even when users choose passwords those fall short of typical complexity recommendations. WPA3 leverages Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE), a secure key establishment protocol between devices, to provide stronger protections for users against password guessing attempts by third parties.
  • WPA3-Enterprise: offers the equivalent of 192-bit cryptographic strength, providing additional protections for networks transmitting sensitive data, such as government or finance. The 192-bit security suite ensures consistent combinations of cryptographic tools are deployed across WPA3 networks.

The Wi-Fi Alliance introduced enhancements and new features earlier this year for Wi-Fi Protected Access, the essential family of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED security technologies, to ensure WPA2 maintains strong security protections as the wireless landscape evolves. WPA2 continues to be mandatory for all Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices. As market adoption of WPA3 grows, the new generation of Wi-Fi security will become required for all Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices. WPA3 maintains interoperability with WPA2 devices through a transitional mode of operation, and Wi-Fi users can remain confident they are protected when connected to secure Wi-Fi CERTIFIED networks.

The Wi-Fi Alliance is also introducing Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Easy Connect, a new program that reduces the complexity of on-boarding Wi-Fi devices with limited or no display interface – such as devices coming to market for Internet of Things (IoT) – while still maintaining high security standards.

It enables users to securely add any device to a Wi-Fi network using another device with a more robust interface, such as a smartphone, by simply scanning a product quick response (QR) code. Wi-Fi Easy Connect and WPA3 represent the latest evolution in Wi-Fi Alliance programs to ensure users receive a positive experience while remaining securely connected as the security landscape evolves.

The Wi-Fi Alliance recently introduced Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Enhanced Open, a certification program that delivers new benefits for users in open Wi-Fi networks. In scenarios where user authentication is not desired or distribution of credentials is impractical – such as local coffee shops or guest networks with a web portal in airports, hotels, and sports arenas – Wi-Fi Enhanced Open now delivers improved data protections while maintaining the convenience and ease-of-use of open networks.

The release has been openly supported by leading industries like, Aerohive Networks, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Cisco, Huawei Wireless, Intel, Marvell and more.

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