CA to unwrap WLan management software

Computer Associates will release the final version of an entirely new software product for managing and securing wireless Lans...

Computer Associates will release the final version of an entirely new software product for managing and securing wireless Lans (WLans), dubbed Wireless Site Management (WSM), later this year.

WSM, which ties together CA's wireless strategy, will be generally available in the fourth quarter.

William Peterson, director of product marketing for CA, said WSM consists of three key areas: WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) access key management, physical limits, as well as events and reporting.

WEP access key management enables IT managers to schedule automatic generation, distribution, rotation, and synchronisation of keys, Peterson said.

WSM also enables IT to set physical parameters, such as location- and time-based requirements for access to the WLan. A particular user might be allowed to log into the WLan when on the corporate campus, but not when off the campus. Likewise, an IT administrator could set time limits so that a consultant has access to the WLan during office hours.

On the reporting front, WSM generates networks reports, including ones for security vulnerabilities or performance metrics.

CA's approach to securing and managing WLans from a network configuration and performance standpoint should appeal to customers, said Stephen Elliott, networking analyst at IDC.

"A lot of IT shops have been taking a piecemeal approach to security and management for wireless Lans.

"There are a lot of products out there that try to handle security and management for wireless Lans, but none have a real complete solution," he said.

Selling this as both a stand-alone product and one integrated with Unicenter should help CA. "But this is still a developing market and this is just the first generation of products to address these issues," he said.

In a future release, Peterson said, CA will offer a software developers kit to let customers build and customise their own reports.

Also on the WSM road map is building support for wireless standards; today the software supports 802.11b, but forthcoming iterations will add 802.11g and its brethren.

Finally, down the road CA plans to tune WSM for VoIP phones and roaming.

Tom Sullivan  writes for IDG News Service

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