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The majority of the authentication methods used in modern wireless local area networks (WLANs) are inherited from protocols designed for wired networks. They provide a good level of security, but they do not support mobility well and they are not computationally efficient. More efficient and mobility-friendly mechanisms, based on pre-shared keys (PSK), are beginning to appear, but they present significant issues with the provisioning and management of the credentials they need. In this paper we introduce smart PSK provisioning (SPP), a combination of two classes of authentication methods. By taking advantage of the combined features of TLS-based and PSK-based authentication mechanisms, SPP provides security, network and computational efficiency, manageability of credentials and modularity. Qualitative and quantitative analysis show how SPP satisfies all these requirements, and how its performance compares very favorably with that of TLS-based authentication mechanisms.
Date of Conference: 17-19 Oct. 2005