The Latest from Las Vegas

The Networld+Interop show has begun again in the Nevada desert and there's no lack of Wi-Fi announcements from the exhibitors.

Networld+Interop is underway at the Las Vegas Convention Center and there's no lack of news from vendors who support use of Wi-Fi in enterprise networks.

  • Airespace, one of the up-and-comers in the crowded field of WLAN switch products, is launching a number of new features for its platform. First is a new product it calls the Intelligent Radio Frequency Access Point or IRAP. The product will use Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) smart antenna technology, making it the "Hummer compared to the BMW" of their existing access point, according to spokesperson Jeff Aaron.

    "Instead of multipath being debilitating," says Aaron, "[MIMO] uses it to its advantage."

    The company has also upgraded its AireWave Director software for better policy enforcement; they're partnering with Bluesoft to offer re-branded versions of the Bluesoft Aeroscout RFID tags; and the company is offering a Wireless Location Services suite to integrate positioning functions. The latter will be offered in a standalone appliance, which Aaron says provides an easier way of integrating location applications without running the actual Airespace systems management software.

  • WLAN security provider AirDefense is expanding what it looks for by software for tracking of Bluetooth-based rogues. Jay Chaudhry, CEO of AirDefense, says "In Wi-Fi, ad hoc is seldom used, you go through APs by and large; in Bluetooth, its mostly peer-to-peer." The potential for access by Bluetooth is a growing concern as more laptops ship with the technology. With it, an ad hoc connection is simple for outsiders. The risk can be greater than with Wi-Fi since Bluetooth can provide access not just to data but also to applications. The new AirDefense product will be only $295 and will operate on a Bluetooth enabled laptop. It should be available by the end of May.

  • Colubris Networks, which makes WLAN products for enterprises and hotspots, is the latest to join the voice over WLAN (VoWLAN) bandwagon. Colubris intends to segment voice traffic with wired equivalent privacy (WEP) security on one "Virtual AP" (VAP) and then have unique security as needed for data on others. It has also announced an interoperability partnership with Spectralink . Spectralink is the current leader in sales of Wi-Fi-based phones. Colubris expects VoWLAN support to be a standard feature in enterprise products by July. [Corrected on 5/12/04]

  • Bluesocket released an update of its system software for its wireless appliances. Version 4.0 will be among the first products with support for Cisco's EAP-FAST protocol (which is meant to replace the vulnerable LEAP protocol) and HP OpenView; it will offer secure roaming when doing VoWLAN; and will perform intrusion detection using real-time monitoring and protect the network from worms.

  • Another switch vendor, Trapeze Networks, says its adding a "significant new security feature" to the software that control's its Mobility Points. Called Bonded Auth (they're trademarking the term, short for Bonded Authentication), it is meant to make sure not only that the users are who they say they are, but that the systems they're using are allowed on the network -- but users aren't necessarily tied to a particular computer. It will use 802.1X authentication for both the system and the user. Bonded Auth will work in conjunction with Trapeze's previously announced Identity-Based Networking for maintaining users VLAN associations as they roam. The upgrade is available free to customers who paid for Trapeze's SafetyNet service.

    Trapeze is also releasing new Mobility Point units (its equivalent of an access point). One is a $549 weather-proof unit with a built in omni-directional 802.11a antenna and connector for external 802.11b/g antenna (which they also sell). The other is a low-cost $349 design that looks like a traditional off-the-shelf AP with rabbit-ear, dual-dipole antennas. The latter will come with dual-band support and a single port to get 802.2af Power over Ethernet (PoE) .

  • Chantry Networks is going a little more traditional with its 802.1X support, and announced a partnership with Funk Software, a leading 802.1X vendor of servers and client software. Chantry's BeaconWorks line of products has been tested to fully interoperate with Funk's own RADIUS server products, Odyssey and Steel-Belted Radius.

  • Mesh networking equipment maker Firetide is entering a co-marketing deal with Netgear . Firetide's HotPoint mesh backhaul routers work with most third party access points and now it is making that interoperability official with Netgear ProSafe APs. Up to three ProSafe APs can connect to a single HotPoint for distributing the wireless network.

  • Ipswitch , a maker of FTP and e-mail software, also makes a network monitoring tool called WhatsUp. That software is now being integrated with Wavelink's Mobile Manager, which is used to manage wireless infrastructures -- it's a recommended product by companies like Proxim. As of today, Mobile Manager will replay wireless performance data to WhatsUp, but the two companies pledge to continue working on integration throughout the year.

  • WildPackets has lots to show at its booth. The major change for its wireless offering is the introduction of the Omni3 wireless sensor, which will be used by the Omni3 consol to manage the wireless as well as wired network. Omni is the company's distributed network analysis platform. The sensor is a joint development in a deal with Cognio, which makes RF spectrum management technology.

  • It's not all high-end switches at N+I. Belkin is showing off a $69 Wireless USB 802.11g Network Adapter that comes with a stand so you don't have to have the unit sticking out of your laptop to be broken off.

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