N+I: LANs, wireless, services move into future

By , IDG News Service |  Security

A new generation of wireless LAN technology this week will share the Networld+Interop show floor in Las Vegas with updated wired LAN gear and new services.

Startups and some established players will be showing off recently announced products that are designed to make wireless LANs more like wired LANs, with centralized management and tighter security. Though wireless LAN sales have boomed in recent years, security and management concerns have kept some large enterprises away from the technology, according to some industry analysts.

While startups such as Trapeze Networks Inc. show off new wireless infrastructure products, wireless management appliance vendor ReefEdge Inc. will add to its box of tools for making wireless LANs more robust.

ReefEdge, which makes appliances for managing and securing wireless LANs, will introduce new management capabilities and a hardware platform that can host all those functions and make them work together.

The company sells an appliance for setting network access policies and one for processing packets on the wireless LAN for factors such as security and bandwidth control. The set of capabilities can work with existing wireless LANs, allowing enterprises to preserve their investments. At the show it will unveil AirMonitor, which consists of software for detecting unauthorized access points, along with hardware probes that can scan the radio waves in the space covered by the wireless LAN, said Sandeep Singhal, chief technology officer at ReefEdge.

ReefEdge will also introduce Multi-Site Manager, software for remotely monitoring and updating wireless LANs at multiple locations, which can reduce the need to have IT managers on site. Through a relationship with a partner, the company also will add to its lineup a tool for remotely configuring wireless LANs, and it is working on other partnerships for accounting, billing and other functions in software.

All those features now can be integrated in one appliance, the CS200 Wireless Network Concentrator, also being introduced at the show and available immediately worldwide. The functions can now work together to automate some aspects of wireless LAN administration. For example, a company could set up a new access point just by plugging it in and setting it up. With AirMonitor, the new device can automatically be identified, configured and set up with user policies, Singhal said.

A base model of the CS200 will cost US$15,000. AirMonitor will be priced starting at $5,995 for an entry-level configuration. Multi-Site Manager will be priced starting at $7,500, depending on the number of sites being managed.

NetGear Inc. will announce Monday an access point for 802.11b and the emerging 802.11g standard, along with antennas and signal boosters designed to give network designers flexibility in where they place their equipment.

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