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Home >> Sci-Edu
UPDATED: 14:51, May 29, 2006
China appeals to ISO against Intel-dominated wireless encryption standard
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China has appealed to the International Standard Organization (ISO) against American chipmaker Intel's domination on encryption standard for wireless local area network (WLAN) equipment.

The current WLAN standard maker, the IEEE (the American Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.), broke ISO rules when its national bodies voted on new technology to mend security loopholes in the IEEE802.11 standard, developed by Intel, the China Broadband Wireless IP Standard Group (BWIPS) said Sunday.

China's WAPI and American IEEE802.11i (11i) both applied to the ISO for new international standard last October, but the Chinese technology lost a fast track ballot in March this year.

The China BWIPS said in a statement available to Xinhua that it has collected 49 pieces of evidence proving its case against IEEE.

"The serious violations are rare in ISO's standardization history," said the statement, adding that IEEE "unjustly" and "unfairly" violated ISO rules which misled many national bodies that voted on the new international standard.

The fast track ballot that ended on March 7 showed 30 national bodies cast vote on WAPI with 8 votes in favor and 31 national bodies cast vote on 11i, with 24 votes in favor.

The BWIPS statement said the result is "unacceptable" to China.

Li Jinliang, a telecom expert, said he believes China's WAPI standard lost the ISO fast-track vote because the current WLAN market is dominated by Intel and voting for WAPI may hurt the interests of the monopoly group owning the existing technology.

China's two appeals to the ISO, launched in May and April, asked it to overturn the vote because of the IEEE's "unethical activities", which included organizing a conspiracy against the China-developed WAPI, insulting China and other national bodies, and intimidation and threats.

China is asking the ISO to immediately launch an investigation into the fast-track process to determine "whether the ethical and procedural rules and principles have indeed been violated and whether the ballots have been unfairly influenced by those ethical and procedural violations".

"Until results are reached on these important issues, no further processing of the two proposals are allowed," said the appeal, which also asked the ISO to take corrective measures if the ethical and procedural violations are proven.

ISO has responded to the appeal, saying that it will investigate the case, according to BWIPS.

BWIPS also said that the U.S. new technology is "immature... containing many serious technical defects and numerous editorial errors" and it needs further evaluation and discussion according to ISO rules.

Telecom expert Li Jinliang said that the new standard for WLAN is required because of weak security in the original technology.

The newly developed U.S. standard does not fix the problem as it is still based on the old technology that caused the security loopholes, said Li.

China selected WAPI as its national standard for wireless local area networks in 2003 and required all WLAN equipment sold in China to comply with the new technology as of December that year.

However, during the following annual meetings of the joint commission on commerce and trade between China and the United States, China agreed to delay the compliance requirement for the WAPI standard because of pressure from the 802.11i camp through the American government.

As China's companies become more innovative, more and more China-grown technologies such as WAPI applied to the ISO to become recognized as an international standard.

"The technology is good but the road to international standardization is full of resistance from monopolies, which has stymied the spread of Chinese technologies in the world," said Li.

Source: Xinhua


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