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Red-M WLAN monitor helps avoid Bluetooth danger

Security vendor Red-M is offering a wireless LAN airwave monitor that also watches for Bluetooth traffic. Experts like the combination because it allows Bluetooth-reluctant firms to give the emerging wireless technology the green light.

Security specialist Red-M recently announced a new wireless airwave monitoring product that not only watches enterprise Wi-Fi traffic but also keeps an eye on Bluetooth traffic.

Red-Detect, the new product from the London-based vendor, is the first Wi-Fi monitoring product to incorporate Bluetooth monitoring. While the short-range, low-power wireless air link technology is a relatively small concern today, 18 months from now Bluetooth devices are likely to be much more popular, said Mike Disabato, an analyst with the Midvale, Utah-based research firm Burton Group.

Disabato said Bluetooth will be embedded in more devices over time, meaning enterprise workers will bring their own Bluetooth-enabled gadgets into the enterprise.

"Bluetooth is going to be in businesses, whether or not the IT department wants it," he said, adding that Red-M's product is one way to ensure that a business's Bluetooth policy is being followed.

Red-Detect is a smoke-alarm-sized device that can be mounted on a wall and which uses in line power. It monitors the airwaves for data traffic and sends its findings back to a workstation. It can identify rogue access points and intrusions events in multiple areas throughout the network.

That information can then be correlated to give network administrators a holistic view of the network, said Chris Weiss, director of technology for Red-M.

Each node covers about the same area that a single access point covers.

Red-M is not the first vendor to offer wireless LAN monitoring. Others, such as AirDefense Inc. and WildPackets Inc., have also developed systems to monitor wireless LANs. But Red-M is the first to offer Bluetooth and 802.11 monitoring in one product.

Right now, it will monitor only 802.11b networks; in the near future, the company will release a product that will work across all of the wireless LAN standards: 802.11a, b and g, Weiss said.

The product's Bluetooth capability is what caught the attention of Full Mesh Networks Inc. The Reston, Va.-based wireless LAN management and security startup, which will be launching its first product in mid-October, will be incorporating Red-M into that offering. It is doing so precisely because of its Bluetooth-monitoring ability, said Bill Bullock, co-CEO of Full Mesh.

In the near future, Bullock said, companies will want to know what kind of Bluetooth activity is occurring in their offices, and this is an effective way to find out, he said.


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