WLAN Makeovers on Tap

Symbol Technologies, Bluesocket and Airespace plan to introduce new security and management tools at Networld+ Interop this week.

Improved security and simplified management are making their way into new WLAN products.

Symbol Technologies Inc. next week will introduce a management software suite for wireless LANs, said officials of the Holtsville, N.Y., company. Symbol Mobility Services Suite/1 will include server- and client-side software. The suite, which will be announced at NetWorld+ Interop in Las Vegas, will be available at the end of July, officials said.

Officials declined to give details about the software but said it is designed with PDA clients in mind. "What is revolutionary here is the capability to manage both mobile devices and infrastructure elements with the same application and the same tool," said Lee Williams, general manager of Symbols mobility software division.

Also at N+I, Bluesocket Inc. will introduce Version 4.0 of its Wireless Gateway security and management software, which will run on all its hardware appliances—the WG 1100, 2100 and 5000.

Among the new features in the Wireless Gateway is intrusion and worm detection, said officials at Bluesocket, of Burlington, Mass. The system will not allow a user to log on to a WLAN until it has checked the users system for worms, officials said.

Version 4.0 is among the first products in the industry to support Cisco Systems Inc.s new EAP-FAST (Extensible Authentication Protocol-Flexible Authentication via Secure Tunneling) protocol, which differs from Ciscos LEAP (Lightweight Extensible Authentication Protocol) in that it uses protected access credentials rather than certificates for authentication.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about Ciscos EAP-FAST protocol.

IT professionals say management and security remain key concerns as their employees continue to insist on using Wi-Fi. "Youre always the guy holding back the train," said Al Foitag, chief network architect at Warner Bros., of Burbank, Calif. "And the train [often] wants to go on the track that goes off the cliff."

Meanwhile, wireless switch supplier Airespace Inc. will introduce at the show products that focus on location-based applications. Officials at the San Jose, Calif., company declined to elaborate on the details of the announcement. However, sources close to the company said the products will include wireless radio-frequency identification tags that can be tracked via WLAN.

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