NAIs Sniffer Wireless to Support 802.11a and 802.11b Networks

Network Associates Inc.'s Sniffer division is adding support for high-speed wireless LAN networks.

Network Associates Inc.s Sniffer division is adding support for high-speed wireless LAN networks.

Starting this week, the companys Sniffer Wireless protocol analyzer will be able to trouble-shoot both 802.11b and 802.11a networks.

Previously, the Sniffer Wireless line of wireless security management products supported only 802.11b networks, which offer data transfer rates of up to 11M bps. 802.11a offers rates of up to 54M bps. Corporate customers have indicated plans to mix and match the networks and had been asking for security products that support both, officials said.

"Its for rogue mobile unit detection," said Rich van de Groenekan, senior product manager at NAI, in Santa Clara, Calif. "It gathers a list of all the wireless devices, whether theyre access units or mobile devices, and labels them as such."

Beyond finding access points that blatantly dont belong in a network, Sniffer Wireless detects roaming configurations that are wrong and access points that are overloaded, officials said.

Customers said innocent mistakes are often more of an issue than deliberate rogues.

"The bigger things are access points that are not configured appropriately or inappropriately engineered wireless networks," according to Bob Flack, corporate systems engineer for Avaya Inc., in Basking Ridge, N.J., which has set up WLANs (wireless LANs) for several Fortune 500 companies. "[Sniffer Wireless] lets us do instant analysis for our enterprise customers and fix their existing networks."

What Sniffer Does

  • Gathers a list of wireless devices and access points on a network
  • Finds rogue and overloaded access points and labels them as such
  • Provides real-time Wired Equivalent Privacy decryption for trouble-shooting
NAI also has plans to support 802.11g, another WLAN protocol, which supports high-speed data rates in the same frequency range as 802.11b. 802.11a runs in a separate frequency band, which renders it not backward-compatible with 802.11b.

Flack said Avaya customers have been asking about 802.11g but that the protocol has yet to be ratified by the IEEE and that neither company plans to support it by spring.

Sniffer Wireless for 802.11a will cost $9,995, the same price as the current 802.11b product.