New Devices Fill WLAN Gap

Management to be a focus at N+I show.

Several vendors are readying products to help enterprises turn WLANs into managed networks.

Wireless LAN management gear will be a major focus at the NetWorld+ Interop trade show next week, with new products due from such vendors as Bluesocket Inc., Symbol Technologies Inc., Atheros Communications Inc., Proxim Inc. and AirMagnet Inc.

Bluesocket, a company known for security products, will unveil its WGX-4000 Switch Wireless Gateway at the Las Vegas show. The product differs from other WLAN switches because it is designed to work with any vendors access points as long as they adhere to the 802.11 protocols. The gateway delivers 800M bps of data throughput for clear traffic and 400M bps for encrypted traffic and does not require client-side software for encryption.

"The wireless gateway needs to terminate the security protocols, whether its [IP Security] or [Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol]," said Dave Juitt, chief technology officer of Bluesocket, in Burlington, Mass. "You want to be able to unencrypt the packet and then look inside."

The gateway will be available by June. Pricing has yet to be announced.


Symbol, which entered the WLAN switching space last year, will unveil the IEEE 802.11a/b Access Port for the Symbol Wireless Switch. Previous versions of the access port supported only 802.11b. The new product supports 802.11a, with expansion features that make it easy to add support for 802.11b or 802.11g, said officials at Symbol, in Holtsville, N.Y. It includes Ethernet support, which allows IT managers to daisy-chain additional access points if necessary.

Symbols access port will use chip sets from Atheros, of Sunnyvale, Calif. For its part, Atheros at N+I will announce certification for the industrys Wi-Fi Protected Access security protocol, supporting both Temporal Key Integrity Protocol and Advanced Encryption Standard. Atheros will also announce "turbo mode" for its upcoming 802.11g chip sets, which is supposed to enable throughput speeds of up to 108M bps.

Proxim, meanwhile, will showcase 802.11g access points and client cards, all of which are due in June. The company will also demonstrate Maestro, a new platform that centralizes the intelligence of a WLAN into an edge switch. Maestro will ship later this year.

AirMagnet will unveil AirMagnet Distributed, which allows enterprisewide monitoring and administration of WLANs via a mobile console. The sensors support 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g.

An AirMagnet starter kit, including a Microsoft Corp. Windows-based management console and four agent sensors, will be available next month for $7,995. A similar starter kit with embedded Linux sensors will be available in June for $7,995.