T-Mobile USA, Inc. today announced it will give T-Mobile HotSpot customers an even greater level of security by deploying the 802.1x security standard across its entire carrier-class Wi-Fi network, the largest in the United States.
T-Mobile has always offered customers security enhancements, such as the ability to use corporate VPNs or personal firewalls to minimize concerns associated with an 'open air' Internet interface. T-Mobile's next step in enhancing security is the deployment of the 802.1x security standard, which when launched, will provide the highest degree of Wi-Fi security commercially available in the market today. The 802.1x security standard offers protection to customers against intruders who try to intercept or 'hijack' information in route between the network and the customers' laptops or PDAs. T-Mobile HotSpot is currently testing 802.1x at a selection of its 3,000 locations and will aggressively rollout the solution across its network by second quarter 2004 -- resulting in the largest public 'hotspot' deployment of the 802.1x standard in the world for commercial networks.
Unlike other Wi-Fi providers that have an inconsistent or fragmented network topology, T-Mobile is able to leverage its nationwide ATM backbone infrastructure -- the same infrastructure used for its wide area GSM/GPRS network -- to service each of its 3,000 HotSpot locations across the country. This allows T-Mobile to continuously monitor the performance of each HotSpot from a national operations center to ensure customers get optimal performance and reliability, far beyond that offered by other Wi-Fi operators.
As part of this industry-leading 802.1x deployment effort, T-Mobile USA is collaborating with Microsoft in fielding its Wireless Provision Services (WPS) product, announced today at ITU Telecom World 2003 in Geneva. WPS allows Windows XP users to easily detect and connect to T-Mobile HotSpot networks with automatic authentication and encryption based on the 802.1x standard.
"By working with T-Mobile USA, Microsoft is teaming with a service provider that shares our commitment to making the mobile computing experience more secure and reliable," said Jawad Khaki, corporate vice president of Windows Networking and Communication at Microsoft. "Microsoft Wireless Provisioning Services in Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP, in combination with T-Mobile's Wi-Fi network, will further enhance the experience for both consumers and business users."
Upon commercial availability, T-Mobile HotSpot customers with 802.1x enabled laptops and PDAs, such as Windows XP with WPS, will be able to enjoy the benefits of the enhanced security standard. There are also a number of third party software applications that allow customers to utilize the 802.1x standard. Customers who prefer not to engage the enhanced security mechanism can use the T-Mobile HotSpot service through their regular Web browser interface. Customers will continue to have the option to utilize VPNs and personal firewalls.