As previously reported, Microsoft has finally added wireless LAN security spec WPA2 to Windows XP.

WPA2, or Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, requires a Wi-Fi client to include the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) algorithm for encrypting data across a Wi-Fi network. AES is the type of encryption used in many government agencies and security conscious industries.

Currently, you must have Windows XP Service Pack 2 to use the software, but Microsoft is looking at the possibility of adding WPA2 to Windows CE. You also need a wireless LAN that includes the new standard and a Wi-Fi network adapter with the processing power to handle AES encryption.

Many of the wireless LAN access points and client adapters being sold today can use WPA2 and come with add-on software for client devices. But having the software built in to Windows XP makes it more likely that managers of wireless LANs will actually use WPA2, according to IDC analyst Abner Germanow.

Windows support may also boost Wi-Fi adoption in government, where some agencies are required to use AES encryption on their network traffic, Germanow said. AES is required under the US federal standards, which covers many government agencies. In addition, using AES can help health care providers establish compliance with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), and some security conscious industries have followed the federal government's lead in using AES, said Drew Baron, lead program manager for wireless security at Microsoft.

The update can be downloaded, here.