Consortium drafts new wireless Net ID card spec

Members of a consortium supporting the use of smart cards to identify users in wireless Internet networks have drafted a specification to ensure interoperability between card and device manufacturers.

A major feature of the WLAN-SIM V0.1 specification, approved by the WLAN Smart Card Consortium, is the use of SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) technology as an authentication tool in wireless LAN (WLAN) hotspots, the consortium said Tuesday in a statement.

SIM technology, which essentially consists of a smart card containing user identification data, is a core component of GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks. The identification technology is used to support roaming, billing and other back-office services seamlessly across mobile networks.

Smart card-based authentication in WLAN hotspots will offer enterprises the same high level of security they are accustomed to in GSM networks, the association said.

The specification, according to the consortium, is a first step in defining industry specifications for WLAN-based smart card systems that can be used in all market segments, including enterprise, public and home networks.

The draft specification can be viewed on the consortium's Web site: www.wlansmartcard.org.

Members of the association include France's Gemplus SA, Germany's Infineon Technologies AG and Japan's Dai Nippon Print Co. Ltd., as well as Texas Instruments Inc. and Visa USA Inc. of the U.S.

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