NetWorld+Interop: Security functions find way into network core

Seizing an opportunity to centralise wireless Lan security, startup networking suppliers are tackling established competitors...

Seizing an opportunity to centralise wireless Lan security, startup networking suppliers are tackling established competitors this week at NetWorld+Interop in Las Vegas.

Newcomers BlueSocket, ReefEdge, Aruba Wireless Networks and Perfigo are demonstrating wireless Lan products that shift the locus of management, monitoring and configuration away from individual access points, moving these security activities instead to a centrally located device.

Attacking a space occupied by incumbents Proxim, Cisco Systems and Symbol Technologies, the new entrants have developed software that resides within appliances to offer Layer 2 and Layer 3 security, access control, authentication, quality of service and roaming capabilities.

Centralised wireless Lan switches are gaining attention as enterprises seek ways to ease the configuration and management of wireless access points to keep in step with changing security specifications and user-access privileges.

ReefEdge introduced Wireless Service Platform which offers security, performance management and multisite management that run in conjunction with existing networks or with the ReefEdge's CS200 Wireless Services Concentrator.

BlueSocket demonstrated its WGX-4000 wireless Lan switch, which supports third-party access points. Meanwhile, Aruba showed off its wireless Lan switching system, Aruba 5000. The four-slot system, which is designed for use in the datacentre, is being used as part of the conference's eNet - the network that is providing internet connectivity for exhibitors and attendees alike.

Perfigo's SecureSmart wireless Lan software will help integrate wireless networks into existing wired networks.

The startups will have a tough time out-engineering those wireless Lan veterans that have already adopted their own centrally managed architectures, according to Gemma Paulo, senior analyst at In-Stat/MDR.

"You'll see the startups knocking on a lot of doors, concentrating on new implementations," she said. "The WLan market is large, and there is still a lot of opportunity, but you have to wonder if all of them will make it this year."

Foundry Networks is at the show to introduce its next-generation 10 Gigabit Ethernet architecture, which will anchor a series of products to be released during the next few years, said Bobby Johnson, chief executive officer and founder of the company.

"The future line of products based on this architecture will generate more revenues than our previous lines of products," he said. "We have 5,800-plus customers, and we believe it will be easy to get adoption."

Johnson argues the technology is not simply an extension of Foundry's existing Gigabit product line.

The first two products based on the new architecture are expected to be BigIron MG8 and NetIron 40G, which are aimed at the enterprise and service-provider markets, respectively. Initially the MG8 will be geared toward companies that run high-performance, grid-computing-based networks and those that offer Gigabit connections to desktops and servers.

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