As wireless LANS become more prevalent inside and outside the corporate office, products are being developed to help IT better manage the networks and track users.
Next month, 3e Technologies International Inc., of Rockville, Md., will announce a new access point and a gateway that turns the access point into a sniffing device to find rogue WLAN transceivers. The devices, which integrate with management software from AirWave Wireless Inc., can save companies money since investment in additional sniffing devices is not needed, and monitoring can be done from the desktop.
"We compare the list of access points that were detected to the list of access points we were expecting to be there, and the system flags the unknown as a rogue," said Greg Murphy, president of AirWave, in San Mateo, Calif.
Management is a major issue for WLAN deployment, as end-user adoption is brisk.
"Eighty percent of the students who are using wireless now didnt have [WLAN PC] cards at the beginning of the semester, so its becoming a huge phenomenon here," said Eric Noble, director of IT at the University of Californias Hastings College of the Law, in San Francisco. The school has deployed WLANs in classrooms and plans to have them in student residences by next semester. "Once we get the wireless installed in the residential tower, then the rogue issue will become more of a problem," Noble said.
In the meantime, Noble has been using the AirWave Management Platform to monitor misuse of the network.
"The AirWave software shows us which [access points] theyre using the most. We have since blocked peer-to-peer networking through the routers," he said. "Weve had a lot of problems with that."
Last week, WLAN hardware company Proxim Inc. announced plans with Ericsson AB to provide WLAN access points for the public-space "hot spot" industry. The companies products address subscriber management, billing software and other features that are applicable to carriers that want to integrate WLAN services with their existing mobile phone and data services, said officials at Proxim, in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Keeping public hot spots in mind, iPass Inc. next week will announce the latest version of its secure remote access software. iPassConnect 2.3 enables mobile workers to use a single-user interface to access corporate intranets via a WLAN, on a corporate campus or from a wireless public hot spot. The roaming capability is supposed to cut down on ad hoc WLAN deployments inside a corporate environment, officials said.
Officials at iPass, in Redwood Shores, Calif., said they plan to keep selling their software directly to enterprise customers, but as carriers start to get more involved with WLAN deployment, they may take advantage of it as well.
Currently, iPass software supports only desktop and notebook operating systems, but the company will offer Microsoft Corp. Pocket PC support by early next year, officials said.