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802-11n WLan standard to take off after ratification

Enterprises can now consider replacing high speed networks with wireless equivalents with the recent ratification of the 802.11n wireless standard, says wireless Lan management firm AirMagnet.

"For the first time, it is viable to replace Ethernet connectivity because of enhanced performance, reach and reliability," said Wade Williamson, director of product development at AirMagnet.

Most enterprises are expected to use the 802.11n wireless standard by the end of 2010, now that it has been ratified, he said. The standard has been under consideration for seven years.

Wireless networks are attractive because they are easier, quicker and cheaper to set up than wired networks. They also make it easier to add new users, said Williamson.

"The challenge is managing that network and enforcing the corporate boundary from a security point of view," he said.

AirMagnet has released a re-architected version of its AirMagnet Enterprise security and management product. This is to enable businesses to tap into the benefits of the new 802.11n standard.

All security sensors, optimisation tools and guides have been updated to include 11n support. Five of 40 new alarms are aimed at preventing hacker attacks designed to exploit the 11n standard.

One way the standard improves performance is by acknowledging only after specific sets of data is sent and not after each individual packet.

But hackers can exploit this to carry out denial of service (DoS) attacks by sending extremely large data sets aimed at tying up the network indefinitely, said Williamson.

The new version of the product is designed to resolve such specific attacks as well as standard wireless network attack methods, he said.


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