WLAN Switch Prioritizes Encryption, Traffic

Legra Systems launches new wireless switch that encrypts and prioritizes multiple packets simultaneously. New product works with company's existing access points and software.

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A Massachusetts startup this week will launch new products in the crowded WLAN switching space, differentiating itself with security and customization features.

Legra Systems Inc.s wireless LAN system includes a cryptography chip called the Cryptoflex, which prioritizes the encryption of data packets on a wireless network. Other WLAN systems can prioritize data traffic, but high-priority data often ends up being delayed in the encryption queue. By prioritizing both encryption and data traffic, Legras system makes it easier for IT administrators to support multiple types of users, said Legra officials, in Burlington, Mass.

"The chip is integrated into the switch, which lets you do cryptography at more than one packet at a time," said Paul DeBeasi, a Legra spokesman.

Like many of its competitors, Legras WLAN system consists of a switch, a radio access point, a management appliance and optimization software.

Legras LS2012 switch is designed to work with Legra access points. It supports as many as 12 direct radio connections (via cables and ports) and 60 remote radio connections (via the routed network). All encryption and traffic prioritization happens on the switch rather than on access points.

The switch also includes a dedicated application processor called the TrueApp Engine. Furthermore, it runs an operating system called Wireless Operating System, which enables customers to code their own applications for such needs as custom billing.

"Its a Linux-based platform, which makes it possible to add additional features and customize the solution to meet the needs of each user," said Craig Mathias, a principal at Farpoint Group, a consultancy in Ashland, Mass. "This gives it a level of extensibility I havent seen from anyone else in the space."

Legras radio access points are available in two models, one that supports 802.11b and one that supports 802.11a and 802.11g.

Legras LM6000 network management appliance centralizes the provisioning, trouble-shooting and monitoring of Legra switches and access points. It works with existing enterprise management systems, such as Hewlett-Packard Co.s OpenView and Computer Associates International Inc.s Unicenter.

The companys Automatic Optimizer application plugs into the LM6000 and automates the process of radio channel selection for access points. The Legra system will be rolled out through VAR channels starting this week. Pricing will vary according to configuration, but, as an example, officials said a starter kit of a switch and three radios will cost about $10,000.

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