Metro-Mesh: A Hacker's Paradise?

    Date24 May 2006
    6627
    Posted ByBrittany Day
    Wireless metro-mesh technology promises a new era in anytime, anywhere public access Internet for the masses. So-called mesh technology -- in case you've been living under a rock for the last year -- allows 802.11 wireless access points to pass data amongst themselves over the air, removing the need for multiple wired connections back to the Internet. Proponents of the technology, which has been taken up in cities such as Philadelphia and San Francisco over the past year, say that it will enable low-cost metropolitan WiFi access as well other services such as VOIP.

    There is, however, one question that doesn't often seem to get asked about metro-mesh technology in the cavalcade of press coverage and industry hype: Just how secure is this technology? On the face of it sounds secure enough. Most of the established and startup vendors in this space encrypt the wireless traffic sent over the mesh access points -- or "nodes," as the industry prefers to call them. "We haven't had any reports of that," says Karrie Rockwell, the marketing director of MobilePro, when asked about hacks at the mesh network the firm runs in Tempe, Ariz. She points out that everything run over the network, which uses equipment from Strix Systems, has 128-bit encryption.

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