As Wi-Fi standards get sorted out and customers clamor for better security, two vendors this week are set to introduce WLAN security products that give IT staffs greater power and flexibility in locking down their networks. Offerings from AirDefense Inc. and Funk Software Inc., while differing in approaches, address the main problems plaguing wireless LANs: policy compliance and interoperability.
The Wi-Fi world is a morass of rivals, each promoting its own platform while supporting different authentication and transmission standards. 802.11b is the current standard for WLAN, but 802.11g—with its higher data transmission rate—is gaining ground. And not far behind is 802.11a, which operates in the 5GHz spectrum.
Most WLAN security tools monitor only 802.11b traffic. But AirDefense 3.5 can monitor all three types of traffic and has upgraded management and policy-compliance capabilities. The policy tool gives managers a side-by-side comparison of the configuration of any access point and the companys mandatory configuration. The tool can be used to issue commands via SNMP to take corrective action during attacks. Customers can change the channel for an access point or shut it down from a central console, said Jay Chaudry, chairman and CEO of AirDefense, in Alpharetta, Ga.
Users said the new capabilities give them much more confidence in WLAN deployments. "We are a diverse environment and have many people who want to use their own access points," said Bo Mendenhall, senior information security analyst at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, in Salt Lake City. "Its important for us to ... set them up so they comply with the policies."
The latest AirDefense is available now, priced at $9,995.
Funk, based in Cambridge, Mass., focuses on authentication in its Odyssey Server 2.0. It supports the merging 802.1x security standard, which is a way of using EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol) on wireless and wired networks. This capability, combined with Odysseys ability to exchange Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service attributes with a central server, gives IT staffs the option of controlling how users access a WLAN. Odyssey is shipping now and sells for $2,500, which includes 25 client licenses.