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The wireless network is coming of age. Although still a bit expensive, within a short time wireless computing will be ubiquitous. By using the vulnerable 802.11 authentication method, users open themselves up to potential attacks. While the distance on PWANs limit the threat, larger corporations that use WWANs, WMANs, and WLANs may find their network compromised if they not careful how the wireless leg of their networks are configured. To help mollify the security risks of WEP, Windows XP has included support for the new 802.1x standard, which includes the ability to require central authentication, dynamic WEP keys and more.

Although the 802.1x authentication method is still under scrutiny, Windows XP implementation of it helps to make wireless networking secure. In addition to this, Windows XP also facilitates the initial setup up and configuration of a wireless network into a simple wizard. By providing the user with a link icon and easy to configure settings, Microsoft has enhanced the usability of its operating system. This is yet another useful feature that can make upgrading to Windows XP both more secure and cost-effective.

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