WLAN Users Lack Support

    Date14 Feb 2005
    8139
    Posted ByBrittany Day
    Setting up a wireless LAN can be as easy as sticking a plug into an outlet. But even technology-savvy customers are complaining that security can be a hassle due to problems with documentation and support. While industry standards bodies are making strides to ensure that even consumer-level WLAN hardware is effective and secure, the user manuals that come with the hardware continue to leave a lot to be desired. "The biggest challenge is inconsistent nomenclature and presentation of the basic components," said Christopher Bell, a software developer in Los Angeles whose home-office WLAN has included wireless routers from Linksys Inc. and Microsoft Corp. as well as myriad PC brands.


    "Repeatedly those types of differences are completely glossed over in both the interface and the documentation."

    In his one experience calling a customer support line, "they could only read to me from the manual," Bell said. "It was worthless."

    Another home networker noted general vagueness in the description of security protocols, from WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) to WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access).

    "The explanations of when one might use WEP64 versus WEP128 versus WPA was lacking," said Greg Imbaro, a Boston-based engineer who uses a wireless router from Motorola Inc. "People don't understand channels. They don't understand key index. And I just had to keep going from secure to unsecure until something stuck."
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