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By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2004-09-27 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Airwave Wireless Inc.s AirWave Management Platform 3.0 lays the groundwork to simplify management of large WLAN deployments, but it hasnt quite nailed the centralized management functionality. Administrators looking to rein in large, diverse wireless LAN networks will find AMP 3.0s solid reporting, automated policy enforcement and wide vendor hardware support compelling—especially if they dont mind waiting for centralized management.

eWEEK Labs tested Version 3.0 of AMP Enterprise, which shipped last month and includes licenses for as many as four AMP servers with Master Console functionality, a RAPIDS (Rogue Access Point Intrusion Detection System) module and licenses for an unlimited number of managed access points. Pricing for AMP Enterprise starts at $90,000 ($60,000 without the RAPIDS module).

Installation of the operating system and application was straightforward. Unlike competitive products from Wavelink Corp., AMP is not a Windows-based application or management GUI. Instead, the AMP platform sits atop a modified Red Hat Linux 8.0 operating system base, which allows AMP administrators to avoid separate licensing costs for the operating system.

Ongoing administration is performed via a streamlined, intuitive Web interface. Using the Web GUI, we preconfigured several groups according to location and hardware, and we defined policies that dictated our desired WLAN security, access and radio configuration settings.

We then used AMPs access point detection capabilities over the wired network to sniff out our collection of access points from Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp. and Proxim Corp., both in our office building and via remote access across an IPSec (IP Security) tunnel. AMP locates access points over the wired network by detecting vendor-specific broadcasts or with active HTTP- or SNMP-based scans.

Once AMP found our access points, we assigned the devices to groups, and AMP automatically reconfigured the access points with the correct settings and firmware revisions we defined in the group policy. Notifications can be configured to alert if devices fall out of compliance, or AMP can automatically correct the problem.

The reporting mechanisms give good overviews of daily access point uptime and client usage levels. AMP also offers real-time statistics on each managed access points bandwidth utilization and number of attached clients.

AMP 3.0 allows administrators to define one AMP server as the Master Console for the network. The Master Console uses XML to poll and collect data from secondary AMP servers. This paves the way for AirWave to offer streamlined global enterprise WLAN management from a single console.

Unfortunately, this new architecture doesnt yet produce much tangible benefit. In tests, the Master Console offered only a high-level sketch of the numbers of access points, clients and alerts reported by each managed AMP server, along with a hyperlink to the managed AMPs own Web interface.

Future revisions will let administrators intelligently push policies and view reports across multiple AMP servers in different locations, AirWave officials said.

The RAPIDS module detects rogue access points via the access points built-in sensor functions with AirWaves Client application or by using a new tie-in with AirMagnet Inc.s Distributed products.

Technical Analyst Andrew Garcia can be reached at andrew_garcia@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms Mobile & Wireless Center at http://wireless.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis.

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Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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