Secure WLAN Protocol Catching On

By Eric Griffith

May 08, 2002

The announcements from companies embracing 802.1X security continue to pour out of the Networld+Interop show.

Last week's announcements about the release of 802.1X clients and servers from Meetinghouse Data Communications and Funk Software were just the tip of the authentication ice berg. 802.1X and the EAP-TTLS protocol are quickly becoming the flavors of choice for securing wireless networks as more companies announce support for the protocol.

Wind River Systems is also developing a port-based network access control framework for OEMs to build into their products, called WindNet 802.1X. It includes components such as a RADIUS server and Tornado for Home Gateways (a set of services building equipment such as cable/DSL modems, satellite Internet access units, and routers). Like the Meetinghouse and Funk solutions, it supports multiple protocols: EAP-TTLS, EAP-TLS, LEAP, and EAP-GSS.

Funk Software, which jointly authored the EAP-TTLS protocol with Certicom for an IETF draft RFC, reports that companies such Avaya, Proxim, Enterasys and others are adding 802.1X support.

For example, Nomadix is in a partnership with Funk Software to use the latter's Odyssey client/server for hot spot access. Nomadix has started to target vendors with its Nomadix Network Service Engine, software with 802.1X support that can be licensed to be built into access points but still let them work with non-802.1X clients by providing multiple authentication methods. Agere Systems has jumped on board with to use the NSE.

Intermec, a leading maker of supply chain products with embedded systems, will also be using Funk's Odyssey for 802.1X security in Intermec's MobileLAN dual-radio 2100 and 2101 access points and MobileLAN 2102 and 2106 single-radio access points.

While Funk seems to get the bulk of the glory, Meetinghouse has its partners: D-Link has signed to use the Meetinghouse AEGIS server and client in its entire line of wireless equipment for SOHOs and enterprise.



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