AirMagnet Inside Your AP

By Ed Sutherland

November 30, 2004

The company is working with chip designer Engim to make hardware with its security and monitoring solution integrated in what it hopes is the first of many.

WLAN chipset maker Engim and Wi-Fi security developer AirMagnet are joining forces to produce a multifunction access point with integrated security monitoring.

With three Wi-Fi radios inside, the device – already available in a reference-design chipset and awaiting delivery in hardware from equipment vendors – combines AirMagnet's Enterprise 5.0 WLAN intrusion prevention system and Engim's multi-channel All Services Access Point.

"We're eliminating the enterprise's need for diverse products from multiple vendors, dramatically reducing WLAN equipment and labor costs, and enabling enterprise class WLAN administration and management," said Engim CEO Nick Finamore.

With the Engim chipset, "AirMagnet can now deliver full-time intrusion detection without separately installed sensors," according to a prepared statement.

The system works as three individual Wi-Fi radios – two serve as traditional APs and the third becomes a remote sensor from AirMagnet.

The multifunction AP is the first to include integrated security, as well as "dedicated Wi-Fi monitoring of all channels and bands for real-time security without disrupting end user traffic," according to the two companies.

The problems with APs and wireless security being separate are many.

"Traditionally, APs will drop connections as they conduct security scans," says Scott Lindsay, Engim's marketing vice president. "You can't do that with VoIP."

"This hybrid device delivers the capacity and consistency needed for Voice-over-Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) while also serving data users," according to a statement.

Without integrated security, "you will be missing most of the good stuff," says Rich Mironov, vice president of marketing at AirMagnet. "This is like sending the guard around the castle every few hours."

The company says that "replacing several single-radio APs with an integrated multi-channel device, one unit can do the work of multiple APs." By integrating the communications and security aspects of Wi-Fi, it eliminates the need for a separate network of monitoring devices, forgoes the need for working with multiple vendors, and reduces the cost of deployment.

AirMagnet sees the integration as removing many of the steps required for securing a wireless network.

"This has required a separate sensor unit, constantly scanning the RF environment for exploits and problems," said Dean Au, AirMagnet president and CEO.

"This is taking a page out of history from the wired world," says Lindsay.

Engim's AP-310 chipset allows Wi-Fi equipment companies "to incorporate an always-on monitor to complement classic AP connectivity in a single customer-ready solution," according to Au.

The announcement "underscores the consolidation principle that's now playing out across the wireless sector," said Craig Mathias of Farpoint Group.

Engim's EN-3001 Intelligent Wideband WLAN chipset was recently awarded Wi-Fi Alliance certification.

Both companies see this announcement as "further accelerating the need for serious security to be built-in."

Mironov says his company sees a future where "AirMagnet is inside" many Wi-Fi devices.

Wi-Fi Planet Conference Want to see AirMagnet's solutions up-close?

Join us at the next Wi-Fi Planet Conference & Expo, November 30 to December 2, 2004 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. They're one of over 70 exhibitors at the show you can talk to personally.

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