Interlink Updates SMB Authentication

By Ed Sutherland

November 30, 2004

A new version of the simple-to-use LucidLink 802.1X tool throws in XP support and can handle even more users, up to 250.

Responding to a growing demand for its two-click Wi-Fi security product, RADIUS authentication experts Interlink Networks is set to release LucidLink 2.0. Available next week, the new version plans support for a larger base of users.

First released in June, the LucidLink Wireless Security software was designed to make easier the often-complicated process of securing a Wi-Fi network. LucidLink offers customers full-featured RADIUS-level security without the usual technical jargon.

In version 2.0, "the focus is to make Wi-Fi easier for the small-and-medium business," says Mike Klein, Interlink president and CEO.

To support a larger audience, LucidLink 2.0 now supports 250 users – that's up from a previous maximum of 50 and the six when the system was originally released.

Also updated is support for more clients. Originally designed with Windows 2000 in mind, LucidLink 2.0 supports Windows XP users. The move follows "a lot of demand for Windows XP" support, says Klein.

The LucidLink system includes the LucidLink Server, Management Console and client software.

Also added is a password-protected remote management console. "Normally, IT would have to enter or remove users from a RADIUS server," says Klein. The updated management console means the LucidLink server remains in the wiring closet while network access can be granted up front at a secretary's desk, according to Klein.

In September, Interlink removed a potential security hole in the software. The security key for network access was stored on a user's laptop within the Windows Registry. The company responded by encrypting the information and linking the data to that specific computer.

Wi-Fi security and ease of use are the keys to greater adoption of wireless networking, believes the Interlink executive.

Over half of small businesses see poor security as a reason for not deploying Wi-Fi, according to Jupiter Research. The same survey found "ease of installation and configuration" the number one issue.

LucidLink is a "15-minute RADIUS," claims Klein. He says the company found the traditional process of installing a RADIUS server included 177 mouse-clicks and up to 16 hours of work.

While LucidLink is making Wi-Fi security simpler, Klein denied the software is dumbing-down security. "This is a full-blown radius implementation," he says. "I can't remember my credit card number, let alone the hex code" needed to establish Wi-Fi security.

LucidLink was born from Klein's frustration trying to sell RADIUS servers to small businesses. Although Interlink has been in the RADIUS security business for 12 years, small companies hesitated when faced with the expense and time needed for training.

"Small businesses have been locked out of security," Klein said when LucidLink was first introduced. LucidLink supports access points from Cisco, 3Com, Linksys, Motorola, Proxim, SMC, Zyxel and others. The system works with "any access point that is 802.1X-compatible," said Klein.

Next year will mean even greater expansion of the company's drive to make Wi-Fi security easier. LucidLink will be bundled with Wi-Fi access points from companies such as D-Link.

The LucidLink software package begins at $449 for a 10-user license.

Wi-Fi Planet Conference LucidLink is a former Wi-Fi Planet Best of Show Award winner. Who will win this year?

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. Interlink Networks and many others are in the running, and you can see them all.


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