NFC 'tap-to-connect' technology now enables security-protected Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi Alliance has updated one of its most popular product certification programs to include Near Field Communication (NFC) “tap-to-connect” technology.

May 1st, 2014

With Wi-Fi technology connecting an increasing range of devices, including those for the smart home and the Internet of Things (IoT), the Wi-Fi Alliance has updated one of its most popular product certification programs to include Near Field Communication (NFC) “tap-to-connect” technology.

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Protected Setup now offers consumers a simplified option to set up Wi-Fi connections, even on devices without a user interface. Users can now connect devices certified for this capability by simply tapping them together, activating a security-protected Wi-Fi connection.

Since 2007, Wi-Fi Protected Setup has been the industry-standard solution for users to easily connect and protect Wi-Fi devices. The new “tap-to-connect” capability enabled by NFC extends the reach of Wi-Fi Protected Setup to devices lacking the rich user interface found in computing devices. Now, a range of devices, from cameras and gaming devices, to smart home devices such as refrigerators, thermostats, and security systems will be able to be connected with a simple tap via NFC.

As noted by the Wi-Fi Alliance, Gartner predicts 26 billion Internet of Everything devices -- many of them Wi-Fi enabled -- are expected on the market by 2020, making simple and security-protected connection tools of paramount importance.

“Wi-Fi Protected Setup gives consumers simplicity and peace of mind,” comments Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. “We continue to evolve our Wi-Fi CERTIFIED programs to support market requirements today and in the future, all while taking security-protected Wi-Fi into the many areas where Wi-Fi is becoming popular.”

Wi-Fi Protected Setup now offers users three easy setup methods: Personal Identification Number (PIN), Push-Button Configuration, and NFC. With the NFC method, the user connects two or more NFC-enabled products by tapping them together. Wi-Fi Protected Setup then automatically configures the network name and activates WPA2 security. The NFC connection method can be used to set up both traditional networks with an access point as well as Wi-Fi Direct groups.

More than 10,000 devices have been certified for Wi-Fi Protected Setup since 2007. The first products to support the NFC option, and which form the test suite for the certification program include the following:

-- Broadcom: Dual-Band 802.11ac Access Point
-- Broadcom: Google Nexus-10
-- Marvell: Marvell Avastar 88W8787
-- Mediatek: Mediatek NFConnected AP
-- Mediatek: Mediatek NFConnected STA
-- Qualcomm: Dual-Band XSPAN 2-stream 802.11n WLAN Adapter

“The NFC Forum is pleased to see NFC technology being embraced by the Wi-Fi Protected Setup certification program as we work together to simplify connectivity for the user,” concludes NFC Forum chairman Koichi Tagawa. “With NFC’s easy, intuitive interface, users can enjoy a more convenient experience.”

More information on Wi-Fi Protected Setup can be found at: www.wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/wi-fi-protected-setup.

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