Page Two

By Scot Petersen  |  Posted 2004-03-08 Print this article Print

Meanwhile, 802.1x security options are available from Funk with its Odyssey Client Version 3.0. The upgrade adds the new Secure Client Provisioning features, which let managers push a preconfigured client to a device without user intervention. Once the device is turned on, it will be connected and authenticated to the network, said officials of the Cambridge, Mass., company.

The operative words for Odyssey are control and choice, said Kevin Walsh, Funks director of product development. Odyssey supports all versions of Windows from Windows 98 on; Pocket PC 2002 and Windows Mobile 2003; and all major authentication methods, including EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol) variations and encryption protocols.

"The security protocols should not be an end-user choice. The network admin will have to sit down and determine whats best for their organization. If you have deployed a PKI [public-key infrastructure], TLS [Transport Layer Security] makes sense," Walsh said. "If users attach to an iPlanet subdirectory, then TTLS [Tunneled TLS]. If Active Directory, then LEAP [Lightweight EAP], PEAP [Protected EAP] and TTLS."

The Bay Area Rapid Transit has used Odyssey for more than two years and was an early beta tester of the first client versions, said Ray Mok, BARTs principal engineer for communications, in Oakland, Calif. According to Mok, Odyssey gives his employees, especially BART police, the flexibility they need and gives administrators the security they need.

BART has deployed wireless access points in about 90 percent of its train stations, Mok said.

"BART management is very concerned about [public safety]. So we do a lot of surveillance," Mok said. "In some cases, BART police in a patrol car need to get in the network, but we obviously cant wire the police car. The network is also used by maintenance and systems engineers who need to do troubleshooting but dont want to get tied down to a cable."

Yet the challenge to authenticate users remotely increases as the number of remote users rises. According to Gartner Inc., the number of WLAN hot-spot users will more than triple this year, to 30 million, up from 9.3 million users last year. By the end of this year, more than 50 percent of professional notebooks will have WLAN capability, the Stamford, Conn., company predicts.

The other new feature in Odyssey 3.0 is support for Novell Inc.s Client log-on for Windows, officials said. Its not a single-sign-on solution for all applications, said Walsh, but it will give users access to the network.

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