Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT/Embedded Security

1/10/2019
08:15 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

Wi-Fi 6 Bakes in Additional IoT Security

At CES this week, the Wi-Fi Alliance offered new details on the new Wi-Fi 6 protocol, which bakes in some additional safeguards for IoT security.

At CES this week, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced the latest iteration of the WiFi industry standard -- Wi-Fi 6 -- which is based on IEEE 802.11ax technology.

The alliance plans to offer a certification program for Wi-Fi 6 by the third quarter of this year. However, that won't stop some vendors from demonstrating products at CES that now incorporate the technology, such as high-performance access points and laptops. Wi-Fi Alliance members (and CES exhibitors) such as Broadcom, Marvell, Ruckus and TP-Link have already announced new devices supporting Wi-Fi 6.

The Alliance expects 1 billion Wi-Fi 6 chipsets to be shipped annually starting in 2022. The group envisions a large array of uses for the new standard, including smart homes, smart cars, businesses, e-Learning, Internet of Things, stadiums, public venues and transportation hubs.

While there are no built-in security protocols in Wi-Fi 6 itself -- this is hardware-level after all, and security protocols need to be implemented in software -- there are implicit security improvements. Any battery-operated IoT device used to provide security functions will be able to function over a longer time, for example. And since this standard makes it much easier for the integration of WiFi into 5G networks, security hardware will be able to connect to the new faster networks that will be coming instead of being left behind.

The new capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 include:

  • Uplink and downlink orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA): This increases network efficiency and lowers latency for high demand environments. It will enable more users to simultaneously operate in the same channel and therefore improves throughput.
  • Multi-user multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO): The new arrangement allows more data to be transferred at once and enables an access point to transmit to a larger number of concurrent clients at once.
  • Transmit beamforming: This will improve signal power which then enables higher data rates at a given range resulting in greater network capacity.
  • 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation mode (1024-QAM): This increases throughput in WiFi devices by encoding more data in the same amount of spectrum. The throughput may increase by as much as 25 percent over Wi-Fi 5.
  • Target wake time (TWT): This addition will significantly improve battery life in WiFi devices, such as IoT devices.

In addition, data rates have been improved to a maximum of 10 Gbit/s.

Finally, the new standard can hold eight separate users compared to the four that Wi-Fi 5 could handle.

Vijay Nagarajan, vice president of the Marketing and Mobile Connectivity Division at Broadcom, noted in a statement that some Wi-Fi 6 products have already made it out to consumer locations, including big box stores and online markets like Amazon.

He also seems confident of the standard spreading to other products, noting: "2019 will be the year of Wi-Fi 6 as it rapidly proliferates with smartphones. The wireless experience on our mobile phones will now be ever so swift, secure, and steady as we seamlessly stream or share our digital memories."

Chuck Lukaszewski, vice president of wireless strategy and standards for Aruba, which is owned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, also thinks that Wi-Fi 6 will find a home in the 5G mobile world:

Users will also receive an operator-grade radio experience, enabling 5G networks to seamlessly incorporate Wi-Fi 6 for additional capacity. As always, Aruba will continue to ensure our networking technologies are fully compliant with Wi-Fi Alliance certification standards for interoperability and security.

Wi-Fi 6 is an incremental improvement rather than a radical redo, but it will offer significant user benefits due to increased throughput and capacity, with some additional security tossed in.

Related posts:

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/10/2020
Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7029
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability was discovered in the System Management Interface Web component of Avaya Aura Communication Manager and Avaya Aura Messaging. This vulnerability could allow an unauthenticated remote attacker to perform Web administration actions with the privileged ...
CVE-2020-17489
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
An issue was discovered in certain configurations of GNOME gnome-shell through 3.36.4. When logging out of an account, the password box from the login dialog reappears with the password still visible. If the user had decided to have the password shown in cleartext at login time, it is then visible f...
CVE-2020-17495
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
django-celery-results through 1.2.1 stores task results in the database. Among the data it stores are the variables passed into the tasks. The variables may contain sensitive cleartext information that does not belong unencrypted in the database.
CVE-2020-0260
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
There is a possible out of bounds read due to an incorrect bounds check.Product: AndroidVersions: Android SoCAndroid ID: A-152225183
CVE-2020-16170
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
The Temi application 1.3.3 through 1.3.7931 for Android has hard-coded credentials.