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Cisco employs AirDefense to monitor WLAN airwaves

Cisco has partnered with AirDefense to make it easier for enterprises to monitor for wireless LAN attacks and rogue access points.

Cisco Systems Inc. has announced that it is integrating its wireless LAN systems with RF-detection software from wireless intrusion-detection vendor AirDefense Inc., in an effort to help businesses defend against rogue access points and wireless LAN attacks.

Cisco customers will now be able to use a Cisco access point as a sensor to monitor the airwaves for anomalies in wireless LAN traffic. That data will be transferred to a server from Alpharetta, Ga.-based AirDefense, which in turn can be accessed through Cisco's Wireless LAN Solution Engine management software, enabling businesses to use both systems from a single console.

That enables enterprises to collate data from both systems, helping to identify spoofed MAC addresses, said Shripati Acharya, director of product management in Cisco's wireless networking business unit.

The integration of both systems will also help businesses meet regulatory requirements that mandate auditing of wireless LAN systems.

Jay Chaudhry, founder and chairman of AirDefense, said he is excited about the partnership. "The endorsement from a player like Cisco enlarges the market not only for security, but for wireless LAN deployments," he said.

Although Cisco and AirDefense have not partnered on sales efforts, the two companies do work with many of the same channel partners. Their sales teams will work with each other should a customer need both products, Chaudrhy said.

Cisco also announced upgrades to its wireless LAN access points. Its new 1130AG and 1230AG access points support 802.11a/b/g clients, as well as 802.11i security and 802.11e quality of service for wireless LAN.

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In addition, the access points provide higher throughput over longer distances, Acharya said. The 1130AG and 1230AG provide 54 Mbps of throughput for up to 90 feet in 802.11a mode, and 100 feet in 802.11g mode.

With these similar distances, businesses do not have to worry about performing an RF survey for each standard, which is often required because 802.11a and 802.11g transmissions behave differently, said Acharya.

Cisco's Aironet 1130AG access point sells for $699, and the 1230AG sells for $999.

Cisco also announced that version 3.0 of its Cisco Compatible Extensions client will support 802.1x authentication and Extensible Authentication Protocol-Flexible Authentication via Secure Tunneling (EAP-FAST). The client can also be used to monitor the RF spectrum.

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