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WLAN security flies high with intrusion detection

Trapeze this week tapped AirDefense to add security features to its wireless network access points to protect against threats.

Trapeze Networks Inc. announced yesterday that it is adding software from intrusion-detection vendor AirDefense to its wireless LAN (WLAN) systems, a move both companies say will help businesses defend against network attacks and rogue access points.

Bruce Van Nice, vice president of worldwide marketing for Pleasanton, Calif.-based Trapeze, said the pairing with Alpharetta, Ga.-based AirDefense will give Trapeze customers secure WLANs that are easy to scale and manage. The integration will also help businesses meet regulatory requirements that mandate auditing of WLAN systems to make sure they comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

The upgrade to Trapeze's Mobility System Software will be out by year's end as part of the company's Open Access Point Initiative. The pricing model is still in the works, Van Nice said.

Van Nice said the partnership was a natural progression because Trapeze "customers were looking for more effective ways to manage and secure their wireless networks." He said the Trapeze customers with large WLANs who expect constant access to data from all locations will embrace the pairing.

AirDefense software will supplement Trapeze's already built-in intrusion detection systems. It provides a second layer of defense, he said.

For more information

Check out our story on Cisco's partnership with AirDefense

Learn more about this topic in our intrusion prevention and detection guide

"Security is a leading issue among wireless LAN users," he said. "And [AirDefense is] the leader in this area."

Trapeze customers will be able to use their access points, or "mobility points," as a sensor that monitors all WLAN activity for possible trouble spots, including rogue access points and users, radio frequency jamming and masquerading. It also enforces corporate security policies and monitors the WLANs overall health.

AirDefense's sensors then fire the information to a server appliance that correlates and analyzes the data collected. The server gives scalable, centralized management of all WLAN deployments.

Trapeze's smoke detector-sized access points will also allow businesses to switch between monitor mode and user mode. In most cases, businesses deploy one sensor for every five to 10 user access points. Under the new agreement, if a specific part of the wireless network is experiencing trouble, the device can be switched to monitor mode "on demand" for extra protection, Van Nice said. Once the problem is solved, it can be switched back into user mode.

AirDefense president and CEO Anil Khatod said in a statement, "The partnership allows Trapeze customers to manage issues as simple as modifying network security policy or as complex as quarantining stations that have been phished to an attacker's laptop."

According to Van Nice, the AirDefense-equipped access points can now:

  • Scan for attack signatures or WLAN monitors.
  • Discover statistical anomalies, such as unusual off-hours activity, multiple login attempts and abnormally large file transfers.
  • Detect violations of corporate security policies.
  • Perform detailed protocol analysis.

The new features will work on Trapeze's MP372 Mobility Point, Van Nice said, and will be available through a software download.

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