using WPA3 SAE

Arend Van Spriel arend.vanspriel at
Tue May 31 09:46:19 PDT 2022

On May 31, 2022 12:29:43 PM Jouni Malinen <j at> wrote:

> On Tue, May 31, 2022 at 10:44:32AM +0200, Arend van Spriel wrote:
>> I am trying to get WPA3 SAE working with brcmfmac driver. Actually it was
>> Cypress who added support for that in brcmfmac, but for me it fails now
>> because wpa_versions bitmask we get from nl80211 indicates only WPA2. I know
>> that wpa_supplicant does not make a difference in the config network block,
>> but I did not expect that choice to affect nl80211 API usage. Do you
>> consider this a bug in driver_nl80211.c? In nl80211 in the kernel we do not
>> check wpa_versions versus key management suites so I guess other vendor
>> drivers are more lenient.
> Why would one need WPA3 indication to be able to use SAE? SAE was
> defined in IEEE Std 802.11-2011, i.e., almost ten years before WPA3 was
> launched. It worked and still works just fine without WPA3.
> WPA3-Personal just happens to be a marketing name for SAE with PMF
> enabled. So no, this is certainly not a bug in driver_nl80211.c, but
> IMHO, a somewhat strange constraint in a driver to try to prevent SAE
> from being used. No driver should place such arbitrary constraints on
> being able to use more secure mechanisms.

Thanks, Jouni


> I don't see much, if any, real use for the NL80211_WPA_VERSION_3 bit in
> nl80211 since it should not result in any difference in driver behavior.
> SAE can be used without it being called WPA3-Personal and so can PMF.

Right. My understanding is that there is no fundamental difference in the 
protocol stack.

> All that said, if someone really wants to use NL80211_WPA_VERSION_3 for
> something, I don't think I would have anything against making
> wpa_supplicant add that bit when including the NL80211_ATTR_WPA_VERSIONS
> attribute for cases where both SAE and PMF are enabled for a connection.
> I would not promote use of this in any driver, though, since it would
> just result in issues with older versions of user space components and
> there does is no WPA3 specific functionality that would be enabled (or
> disabled) based on that bit.

Giving that I probably have to rework stuff in the brcmfmac driver I will 
fix this issue along the way.


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