Tools at Interop Help Secure Wireless Networks

Symbol Technologies, Atheros Communications and Cisco Systems announce new products for network security and voice routing.

Enterprises looking to get more out of their wireless LANs soon will have better tools for securing those networks and using them to route voice traffic.

Symbol Technologies Inc., Atheros Communications Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. all announced advanced new products at the Interop show in Las Vegas this week.

Symbols new Wireless Intrusion Protection System monitors the network for external attacks and rogue access points within the network. Symbol differentiates itself with a "split intelligence architecture," in which data analysis is split between access point sensors and the central switch.

The company also introduced Symbol RF Management, which provides an ongoing site survey of the radio-frequency environment.

"We are integrating both RF management and IPS together and providing continuous protection and management—not cycling the system between providing wireless access, then taking time out to police the network," said Anthony Bartolo, vice president and general manager of Symbols Wireless Infrastructure Division, in San Jose, Calif.

Meanwhile, WLAN (wireless LAN) radio chip-set maker Atheros announced at Interop plans to offer its JumpStart for Wireless software to the open-source community. JumpStart is a prepackaged set of tools designed to make it easier to configure a secure WLAN, in an industry plagued by proprietary acronyms.

Cisco at the show introduced its 2700 Series Wireless Location Appliance, which can track thousands of Wi-Fi clients on a corporate network, using "RF fingerprinting," according to officials at the company, also in San Jose.

Beyond keeping track of assets and locating security threats, the appliance will be able to aid in the location requirements of upcoming voice-over-WLAN applications such as Enhanced 911 services, officials said.

Location tools have gained popularity in settings such as hospitals, in which it is vital to keep track of both equipment and people.

"We have talked about getting a tag small enough to [fit] inside a hospital band—to track infants in the nursery or for Alzheimers patients that we need to keep away from the elevators," said Bob Votta, director of network technical services at Lee Memorial Hospital, in Fort Myers, Fla., which is testing the location server.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about vendors displaying their performance-optimization chops at Interop.

Both Symbol and Atheros are making inroads into the voice space, too.

Atheros plans to introduce next month a Wi-Fi/cellular chip set through a partnership with a third party, and it plans to develop several voice-focused chips during the next few years, company officials said.

"You can speculate that in the future our interest is not just the Wi-Fi piece," said Craig Barratt, president and CEO of Atheros, in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Symbol, which also makes handsets, is working with Avaya Inc. to integrate its MC50 handset with Avayas business communications applications.

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