Cisco looks to ease WLAN management

Cisco Systems Inc. this week announced additions to its CiscoWorks product line aimed at bringing the company’s wireless LAN (WLAN) products into the fold of network management software.

The CiscoWorks Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE) is a management appliance that could help users manage and configure wide-scale deployments of Cisco Aironet WLAN access points in a business or organization, according to Cisco. Upgrades to the CiscoWorks LAN and WAN management platforms could also provide CiscoWorks users with increased security and expanded device management support, the company adds.

The WLSE appliance is designed to sit on an enterprise LAN and identify all Cisco Aironet access points on a network. Users attached to the WLSE via a Web client interface can check and change every Aironet access point’s configuration settings such as broadcast settings, radio frequencies and device shut-down and boot-up times. The Web interface can also be used to view trends in WLAN usage and to identify overloaded or underused access points on a LAN.

The ability to tap into access points from one console and view statistics on usage and configuration could help companies get a handle on expanding WLAN usage, says Bob Dimicco, director/general manager of Cisco’s enterprise management business unit.

“The WLSE’s business value is that it can really save time in terms of wireless LAN troubleshooting,” he says.

The WLSE has a Web-based user interface that can be used to create standardized access point configurations via templates, which can be pushed out to all access points at once. The system can also provide alerts about misconfigured Cisco access points that could be vulnerable to internal or external wireless snoops.

Information from a WLSE can also be fed into the Resource Management Essentials (RME) module on Cisco’s LAN management platform to provide an overall view of both wired and wireless infrastructures.

Cisco also released enhancements to its LAN Management Solution (LMS) and Routed WAN Management Solution (RWAN) software products, including support for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Secure Shell (SSH) protocols on both platforms.

The LMS and RWAN platforms also include support for 30 new Cisco devices, and both can now run on Windows 2000 Server and Professional. LMS and RWAN also run on Sun Solaris 2.7 and 2.8.

The WLSE is available now for US$17,000, while the LMS and RWAN products are available for $20,000 and $15,000, respectively.