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China suspends wireless standard proposal

The government of China has agreed to suspend indefinitely its proposed proprietary national standard for wireless Lans after objections from the US government and IT suppliers.

The standard, called Wapi (Wireless Lan Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure), was scheduled to be adopted as a mandatory security measure in China on 1 June, but Chinese officials agreed to work with international standards bodies instead after meeting with US trade officials yesterday.

China will work to revise Wapi, taking into accounts comments received from Chinese and foreign IT firms, and now has no deadline on implementing the standard.

Wapi has caused concern at international electronics companies because details of the standard have only been shared with a handful of Chinese equipment makers, leaving foreign companies the option of either licensing the technology though agreements with Chinese suppliers, or staying out of the Chinese market. Electronics companies were worried that Wapi could have fractured the Wlan equipment market.

Intel praised the agreement. China's decision on Wapi  "demonstrates its commitment to leadership in the IT industry", said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy.

"Intel commends the governments of the People's Republic of China and the United States for their patience, persistence and flexibility in working through this very important and complex issue."

Intel has been working with Chinese PC manufacturer Levono Group, formerly known as Legend, to develop a prototype laptop. The laptop, known as Vela, is based on the next generation of Intel's 802.11-based Centrino platform.

Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service


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