Wireless LAN (WLAN) chipset maker Atheros Communications has released one of its key security technologies to the open source community.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company submitted code for its JumpStart for Wireless security configuration software to SourceForge.net for use by anyone in the wireless LAN (define) industry. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) has already certified the code for JumpStart for Wireless.

Based on the Diffie-Hellman key exchange protocol, JumpStart lets multiple devices obtain a WPA (define) encryption key long enough and complex enough that it is difficult to get around without that key being re-entered on each machine.

If the user decides on a short, not very complicated, but perfectly legal password -- like spaghetti -- JumpStart uses the secure key exchange to compensate.

This is not the first time Atheros has contributed to open source coffers. The company already has a few projects available through the independent madwifi project.

In this case, Atheros made JumpStart compatible with chipsets from other companies such as Intel's Centrino, Marvell and Broadcom.

In addition to the code, Atheros is offering its JumpStart Developer's Kit. The package includes a set of software components for WLAN clients and access points as well as an APIs (define) for working with client-based applications.

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