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Fluke AirMagnet combines Wi-Fi, cellular spectrum monitoring

Fluke AirMagnet's new cellular spectrum security capability, coupled with Wi-Fi monitoring, can help regulated enterprises ensure compliance.

Fluke Networks has added cellular spectrum control its wireless network security tool -- Fluke AirMagnet Enterprise -- to help federal government agencies and highly regulated enterprises gain visibility and control over both Wi-Fi and cellular network use in their environments.

Some enterprises must follow stringent compliance standards and protocols that can extend to controlling the use of cell phones on their premises. Many network managers know that they can't ask employees and guests to check all cell phones and mobile devices at the door. As a result, these organizations need deeper security monitoring and analysis tools. Network managers can't control the licensed cellular bands that carriers and service providers use, but the cellular spectrum monitoring can help enterprises monitoring for their use and help network administrators enforce a no-cellular policy, said Craig Mathias, principal at the Ashland, Mass.-based advisory firm Farpoint Group.

Fluke's AirMagnet Enterprise combines Wi-Fi and cellular monitoring in one system -- a first for the industry, Mathias said. "This is a great technique for enterprises that need to absolutely verify what is going on inside the Wi-Fi and cellular spectrum within a particular indoor location," he said.

Enterprises have had to use separate systems for Wi-Fi and cellular network monitoring in order to maintain their closed network or uphold the integrity of a sensitive location. Integrated cellular and Wi-Fi security capabilities into one wireless security enforcement strategy just makes sense for highly regulated organizations, said Rohit Mehra, vice president of network infrastructure research at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.

Fluke AirMagnet's combined Wi-Fi, cellular capabilities help ensure compliance

Some regulations force government agencies, financial institutions and even data center providers to go beyond simple wireless security monitoring, said Milind Bhise, product management and marketing executive for Everett, Wash.-based Fluke Networks. These IT administrators have to know what devices are present and what kind of data sessions are happening within their environments.

The new cellular monitoring capabilities on the AirMagnet Enterprise's sensors extend wireless monitoring to include voice, as well as data sessions. "By monitoring , detecting and remediating spectrum activity, the capability really allows IT to identify cellular issues before users are affected and to figure out if there is a data session going on, or if a threat is in place," he said.

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Fluke AirMagnet Enterprise's spectrum analyzer will be able to monitor activity 24 hours a day across multiple cellular bands -- including 3G, 4G LTE and CDMA -- and determine which carrier is active in the bands. The new cellular monitoring capability includes both new hardware and software -- a dedicated cellular spectrum analysis antenna for existing AirMagnet Enterprise wireless sensors, as well as a software update for legacy hardware, Bhise said.

The cellular spectrum security capability will help IT determine if there is any local cellular activity on-premises in the same way a Wi-Fi spectrum analyzer works in order to enforce no wireless zones. Fluke AirMagnet Enterprise will also be able to detect cellular interference sources -- such as cell phone jammers -- -- and alert IT, the company said.

Cell phones can record audio and shoot still pictures and videos that can be immediately transmitted. For enterprises with strict security policies, it's important for network administrators to know if these radios are in use, Farpoint Group's Mathias said. "If an Amazon data center has areas in which wireless devices are not allowed to be on the premises, for example, IT would be able to act on the information the AirMagnet sensors are picking up -- like physically finding the user and instructing them to turn off their phones," Fluke's Bhise said.

The new cellular spectrum monitoring feature is also very useful for verifying cellular coverage inside a building and for determining whether the security policies set inside the management console are working, in addition to identifying intrusion and threats, Mathias said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, news writer, and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter.

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