Nokia brings SIM authentication to WLAN service

The authentication system for GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) will soon simplify access to corporate networks via public Wireless LAN (WLAN) access points in places such as airports and hotels, according to Nokia Corp.

Entering a pass code and hitting "connect" will be all a business traveler needs to do to get broadband access to the corporate network, Nokia said in a news release.

A user does have to equip his notebook with a special WLAN card -- one that has a slot for a SIM (Subscriber Identification Module), a chip about the size of a small postage stamp. SIMs are currently used in GSM mobile phones to authenticate the user on a mobile network.

The WLAN service allows transfer speeds of 11M bps (bits per second), using the 802.11b standard. Mobile phone operators, as an extension to 3G (third-generation) services and other data services, will offer the WLAN service, Nokia said.

On Monday Nokia announced a deal with Finland's incumbent telephone operator Sonera Corp. Sonera will enhance its existing WLAN-based services and will pilot SIM-based authentication. The operator plans to start offering the new service in 25 airports in Finland by the end of 2002, Nokia said.

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