New Management Clients

By Eric Griffith

December 06, 2002

Cirond Technologies this week released betas of its clients for Windows and PocketPC that run with its new management tool for WLANs.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Cirond Technologies of Scottsdale, AZ, wants to take enterprise wireless LAN security right down to the client -- and even let those clients find an easy way to roam.

This week at the 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo, the company announced public availability of beta versions of the WiNc connectivity-sniffing client for personal digital assistants (PDA) running Windows and Pocket PC 2002, and the rather obviously named Universal Client software for Windows. Both products are free to download and try at They support finding connections on 802.11a, b, and even 11g-based networks. Each offers support for just about every Wi-Fi client card available (Cirond's President and CEO Nicholas Miller says that it will have licked problems working with Agere client cards in a few weeks.)

The software works as a standalone for travelers who want to seek out and use wireless networks, but the products' are meant to be used directly with the company's flagship product, the recently announced WLAN Manager software (also still in beta testing). The program, which will be released in early 2003 for around $400, features a number of management and security features including a MapView for doing location-enabled views of the network to pinpoint unauthorized users and rogue access points. Using the VirtualShield to draw boundaries on the maps of the network location will let you "block those outside the drawn map outline" according to Miller -- so if you put an outline along the building wall, no one outside the building is allowed on the network.

WLAN Manager's other features include AutoKey for automatically changing the encryption key for Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) on not only access points but also on clients running the WiNc or Universal Client software. Similarly, access points can be set automatically to new power or channel settings through the WLAN Manager interface.

The company is also experimenting with allowing temporary user access to some network facilities by providing what they call AccessLink, a provisioning system based on the Universal client, and provided on a USB-based "keychain" Flash-memory drive. Guest can then be given access to the Internet via the WLAN based on a time frame and their location at the facility.

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