China Throws Wi-Fi a Curve
The staunch proprietary position on what China calls its Wired Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI)-implemented on Dec. 1 as part of the nation's GB 15629.11-2003 Wi-Fi standard-caught the wireless-LAN industry off-guard. The ruling means that any Wi-Fi chip or system imported into China or manufactured there for domestic use must employ the WAPI encryption scheme, which is incompatible with IEEE 802.11. Charges of protectionism and license gouging are flying, along with complaints that a China-only standard will raise equipment costs. Some fear that China will push WAPI as a global standard and thereby fracture the whole WLAN industry.