A host of new products promising to secure wireless networks and web services deployments are on prominent display in Las Vegas this week.
The NetWorld+Interop 2003 show highlights networking technologies for enterprises and runs until Friday (2 May) and has brought together many of the world's biggest technology suppliers with representatives from industry, government and military.
With the rapid adoption of wireless Lan technology in homes and enterprises, a number of companies are exhibiting products that strengthen the security of wireless Lans, a top concern for attendees at this year's show, according to show organiser Key3Media.
In an announcement with a significant impact on the burgeoning wireless technology industry, the Wi-Fi Alliance has unveiled its latest certification for wireless Lan devices, Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).
WPA is intended to replace the widely deployed WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) security technology, which was found to have weaknesses that made products using WEP vulnerable to attack.
WPA is a specification covering security features that increase data protection and access control on wireless Lans while ensuring interoperability among different wireless hardware and software, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance.
It includes technology borrowed from the as-yet unreleased 802.11i wireless security standard and will be able to run on existing 802.11a and 802.11b hardware as a software upgrade, according to the alliance.
The group announced on Tuesday (29 April) the first products it has certified as WPA-compliant. These products will be available in May, it said.
Security is a key element of several next-generation wireless Lan offerings at the show, including an integrated firewall, wireless access point and Ethernet switch from NetGear.
The ProSafe Dual-Band Wireless VPN Firewall features a wide-area network (Wan) firewall that supports two virtual private network (VPN) tunnels. It also has an intrusion detection system that can log, report and send e-mail alerts on attacks.
One supplier squarely focused on content security, Fortinet, says its products also have something to offer network administrators considering wireless Lan deployment, according to Richard Kagan, vice-president of marketing at Fortinet.
It has announced the FortiGate 60 hardware appliance for small and medium-sized businesses that combines VPN, firewall and content filtering capabilities with antivirus protection.
Fortinet has also announced a new "entry level" 1gigabit per second security and antivirus device, the FortiGate 1000. This offers features of the FortiGate 60 but is designed for enterprises that need 1gbps capacity. At the same time, it does not require the "huge premium" that most suppliers put on gigabit-speed hardware appliances, Kagan said.
Wireless technology aside, the growing interest in web services among enterprises has spurred a market for network security products that are capable of protecting content shared within and between enterprises.
Forum Systems plans to unveil version 2.0 of its Forum Sentry 1500 XML security appliance, an enterprise-class device designed to provide a platform for the deployment of security for web services.
The hardware appliance includes new functionality supporting a variety of web services security standards such as SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language), XML Digital Signatures and XML Encryption and adds features for configuration and security policy management, encryption key management and transaction auditing and exception handling, according to Forum.