WLAN products undergo facelift

Three wireless LAN vendors are releasing software upgrades that add features for intrusion detection, radio frequency management and wireless VoIP.

The changes are part of the evolution of enterprise WLANs, which includes giving network administrators more sophisticated management tools and better tuning of the WLAN infrastructure to deal with voice traffic.

AirDefense introduced AirDefense Enterprise 7.0, which through new technology can be used to collect and store historical data to more accurately distinguish between routine and potentially dangerous activities.

The offering, which combines radio sensors, a rack-mounted security appliance and systems software, has been reworked to incorporate a very fast, custom-built data storage facility, instead of an external SQL database.

The new data store, dubbed Intelli, can collect and manage data on 250 variables per minute for each wireless client and access point on the WLAN. Variables include signal strength, historical record of typical signal strength, the encryption being used, details on the devices and which clients are associated with a given access point.

The new data store also makes it possible to boost the number of wireless devices that can be managed by a factor of five, to 10,000 sensors and 300,000 devices.

Also new is a client program that can be downloaded to corporate laptops, where it can enforce a range of WLAN security policies when users are tapping into public wireless hot spots or a home WLAN.

Bluesocket recently unveiled changes to its BlueSecure Controller line and its BlueView Management software. BlueSecure 5.1 now enables the twin radios in the company’s access points to continuously cycle between data traffic and RF monitoring. From this data, the controller creates a constantly changing picture of what’s going on in the radio waves. New algorithms, for example, can detect that activity on channel 6 of a given access point indicates interference from some other radio source. The controller can then change the channel assignment of that access point.

Aruba Wireless Networks is making several changes to support VoIP users on its WLAN access points and controllers. The controller already runs a stateful firewall that can inspect each wireless packet.

In the new release, a firewall can now “see” the specifics of several voice protocols: Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), Cisco’s Skinny Client Control Protocol and protocols from wireless VoIP vendors Spectralink and Vocera.

The upgrades to the software also mean information can be collected about voice packets to identify the number of calls on a given access point and then deflect new calls to another access point, for example. This load balancing preserves adequate bandwidth for each call.

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