October 14, 2010, 8:29 PM — The new version of Aruba Networks' Wi-Fi network software includes code to improve voice and video performance, automatically identify non-Wi-Fi radio interference and trap rogue wireless devices.
ArubaOS 6.0, which powers the vendor's controllers, is part of a trend by wireless LAN vendors to add features intended to improve Wi-Fi signal quality, reduce interference, and strengthen manageability and security.
The new version of ArubaOS now adds:
* Support for the encrypted signal protocols used in BlackBerry Mobile Voice System for VoIP calls over Wi-Fi.
* An embedded spectrum analyzer, built into the Atheros Wi-Fi chipset with controller-based reporting and analysis, can find and identify non-Wi-Fi radio sources.
* Code that can run more precise RF scans to identify threats from rogue Wi-Fi devices, and then trap them by luring them to connect to fake access point.
The company added support for BlackBerry MVS in April 2010, and now becomes part of ArubaOS 6.0. Aruba's embedded firewall can now recognize the encrypted MVS traffic and give it priority over Wi-Fi connections, an important step in minimizing latency problems for voice and video traffic.
The new spectrum analyzer incorporated on the Wi-Fi chip in Aruba 802.11n access points lets the controller extract a wider array of spectrum data and analyze it. The change lets IT monitor for non-Wi-Fi radios that could affect wireless performance or pose a threat to the corporate WLAN.
The access points have to be set to what Aruba calls "monitor mode" to generate his data. In the future, they will be able to act as either dedicated RF monitors or as standard data access points that can also pass RF information on to the controller, according to Ozer Dandurmacioglu, Aruba's manager of product marketing.
The Aruba wireless intrusion prevention system now incorporates software from Aruba's Network Chemistry acquisition. Dubbed "TotalWatch," this code sifts the RF spectrum in 5 MHz channels. That's important because without this granularity, an attacking Wi-Fi device only shows up "white noise" in a standard 20 MHz Wi-Fi channel: the more precise TotalWatch can identify the specific threat, according to Dandurmacioglu.