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Testing, Testing

So, now armed with the knowledge of what I had been doing wrong, I set out to achieve some successful WPS sessions. Unfortunately, due to Wi-Fi industry's reluctance to focus on supporting WPS in clients, I was able to find only one card among my current assortment that supported WPS in its client application. So Table 1 isn't as big as I had hoped it would be.

  D-Link DWA-642
[Atheros]
D-Link DIR-615 (B2)
[Atheros]
- Success. PBC and PIN
- AP always reports WPA-only / TKIP
- STA usually reports WPA / TKIP, sometimes reports WPA2/AES
D-Link DIR-625 (C1)
[Atheros]
- Success. PBC and PIN
- AP always reports WPA-only / TKIP
- STA usually reports WPA2 / AES
Linksys WRT160N
[Broadcom]
- Success. PBC and PIN
- AP reports WPA2, TKIP or AES
- STA reports WPA2 / AES
Trendnet TEW-632BRP (A1.0R)
[Atheros]
- Success. PBC and PIN
- AP reports WPA-Auto / TKIP
- STA reports WPA2 / TKIP
Belkin F5D8233-4 (Ver. 4000)
[Ralink]
- Success. PBC and PIN
- AP reports WPA / TKIP
- STA reports WPA / TKIP
Table 1: WPS Testing Summary

What is does show is support for WPS on the AP side for products with Atheros, Broadcom and Ralink chipsets. It also shows an interesting mix of security levels that result from WPS sessions.

All of the products tested support the highest WPA2 / AES security. But only one pairing, the Linksys WRT160N and DWA-642 resulted in a WPA2-secured connection. All other combinations looked like WPA / TKIP, although the D-Link DIR-615 and 625 reported mismatched WPA/TKIP and WPA2 connections between AP and client, which shouldn't be possible.

I don't understand why all of these products didn't negotiate WPA2 connections. But maybe that's a subject for another article.

Conclusion

At the rate things are going, it is anyone's guess as to when consumers will really be able to push buttons on wireless routers and wireless clients and get a reliable, secure wireless connection. Actually, given the apparent lack of urgency and enthusiasm from the Wi-Fi Alliance and consumer networking product manufacturers, WPS may never really take hold.

Every day that goes by without WPS, consumers are learning to do without it. While there will always be those who are clueless about technology and who could really reap the benefit of WPS, other, more technically-savvy users just soldier along. They have learned to fend for themselves and to make sense out of the piecemeal, half-done "solutions" that companies continue to push out.

This is really be a shame, especially given the time, effort and resources that many companies have been "encouraged" to devote to developing a "standard" technology. A technology that is no better than the proprietary technology that started it all, Buffalo's AOSS, that has an installed base in the millions of units and that is an example of what WPS could do, if the industry would get behind it.

Before its creation and while WPS has been poking along, Buffalo got AOSS designed into four of the most popular game consoles on the planet—the Sony PS3 and PSP and Nintendo Wii and DS. Every day, consumers use AOSS push-buttons to connect these devices to Buffalo AOSS-equipped wireless routers. They even use it, along with a Nintendo Wi-Fi USB adapter, to turn an Internet-connected PC into a wireless hotspot for DS game parties.

Of course, none of these products support WPS, so Buffalo, Sony and Nintendo are just as guilty as other Wi-Fi Alliance members of not getting behind the technology. But just think of the benefit to consumers if the consumer wireless industry would just once, act in the interest of consumers, who ultimately pay their salaries, instead of their own?

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