Apple Seeking To Make Wireless Network Setup Easier

In a patent application revealed yesterday (#20070054616), Apple reveals that it is working on making configuring wireless networks, especially ones with devices with limited input/output capability, more simple.

The system describes using RFID tags in networking equipment that would communicate basic configuration settings when the devices got close to one another. The devices would then be able to establish a rudimentary network based on that information and be able to automatically finish setting up a more complex and secure wireless network.

Apple's innovative use of RFID appears to be aiming to simplify the setup of wireless devices (especially ones with limited user interfaces) while simultaneously promoting the use of secured wireless networks.Raw Data: Patent Abstract

A system for automatic configuration and authentication of network devices is disclosed. A network base station, e.g., a wireless router, includes an RFID transceiver. A network device includes an RFID tag. Then the network device is brought into proximity with the base station, an exchange of information takes place between the RFID transceiver in the base station and the RFID tag in the device. When the network device is powered on, it reads the information in its RFID tag and uses this information to establish a limited connection to the base station. Once connected, the base station and network device exchange authentication and encryption parameters over the limited connection and thus establish a fully functional and secure network connection between the network base station and the network device.

Background Info: RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)
RFID has been seen widespread use over the past number of years and is widely considered a "hot" technology. Various forms of the technology have been used anywhere from express toll booths, trusted traveler border crossing, inventory management, and credit cards.

Of note, RFID technology is vulnerable to a number of its own security implications, which Apple would need to deal with in order to maintain security.

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