Cisco Systems and Microsoft Collaborate to Deliver Enterprise-Class Wireless Networking Security

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 26, 2001–

Cisco and Microsoft Further the Vision of Enterprise Network Mobility Through New Extensible Security Framework for Wireless Networks

Cisco Systems, Inc. announces the first implementation of the 802.1x draft security standard shipping on its Cisco Aironet 350 Series of Wi-Fi(TM) (IEEE 802.11b) compliant wireless local area networking (WLAN) products. Cisco collaborated with Microsoft to develop, deliver and deploy the first enterprise authentication and security architecture based on the in progress Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.1x and Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) standard. Through this cooperative effort between Cisco and Microsoft, enterprises can, for the first time, scale wireless deployments to thousands of users with a standard, centralized security management framework while streamlining network management and administration.

Cisco, Microsoft and other industry leaders are collaborating to define the IEEE 802.1x enterprise-class security architecture for wireless 802.11 networks. The two companies were the first to show “proof-of-concept” at NetWorld+Interop in Atlanta in September 2000.

“Microsoft represents Cisco’s largest wireless LAN enterprise customer and we have worked closely with them throughout their deployment to identify and address the obstacles for delivering a mobile LAN network solution that meets key requirements for the enterprise,” said Bill Rossi, vice president and general manager of the Wireless Networking Business Unit in Cisco’s Commercial Line of Business. “Together we have met the enterprise requirement for a standards-based and interoperable wireless security management architecture that takes full advantage of 802.11b security elements in both the Windows XP operating system and the network infrastructure. Our solution provides the strongest level of wireless security available and ensures hassle-free security management from a central point of control for large-scale deployments.”

The Cisco-Microsoft security solution is based on the IEEE 802.1x draft standard for port-based network access control. IEEE 802.1x utilizes standard security protocols such as EAP and RADIUS to provide centralized user identification, authentication, dynamic key management and accounting.

Central to 802.1x is the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), an IETF standard proposed by Cisco, Microsoft and other organizations to the IEEE 802.1x committee that enables wireless client adapter manufacturers and RADIUS server vendors to independently develop interoperable client side and server side security software. Cisco’s strong commitment and efforts to achieve innovations from an end-to-end security standpoint via open, extensible frameworks for the future are demonstrated by its leadership in the standards bodies. Cisco’s Dave Halasz was appointed Task Group E, Security Sub-Group Chair of the IEEE P802.11 Working Group.

“This collaboration on standards leads to products that will significantly ease the deployment of wireless LANs in enterprise networks,” said Jawad Khaki, vice president of networking and communications at Microsoft. “Now customers using Active Directory and Cisco infrastructure will be able to deploy a secure, reliable and cost effective wireless network for Windows using access points from Cisco that implement the 802.1X/EAP standard.”

This new wireless networking security architecture used in the Cisco Aironet wireless LAN products delivers scalable, centralized security management and supports dynamic single-session, single-user encryption keys integrated with network logon. This security solution dramatically simplifies the administration and management of the network by eliminating the deficiencies of static Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) key management, giving IT managers the confidence to deploy a secure enterprise-wide wireless solution for their users.

About Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. News and information are available at

Note to Editors: Cisco, Aironet, Cisco Systems and the Cisco Systems logo are registered trademarks of Cisco Systems, Inc. or its affiliates in the U.S. and certain other countries. Microsoft, Windows and the Microsoft logo are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners.

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