WLAN Gateway Enhances 802.1x Implementations

By Matthew Peretz

November 16, 2001

Supports multi-vendor, multi-protocol integration of 802.1x security into existing networks.

WG-1000 Burlington, Mass-based Bluesocket, Inc. announced yesterday at Gartner's First Annual WLAN Summit that its products now offer expanded support for the IEEE 802.1x security standard that has been broadly supported by both hardware and software manufacturers as resolving many of the problems with WEP. WEP has proven to be vulnerable to attacks by hackers and could be a limiting factor regarding enterprise acceptance and uptake of WLANs using only that standard.

Bluesocket's WG-1000 gateway product will enable multi-vendor networks to implement 802.1x authentication and enhanced data integrity capabilities. Windows XP, acess points, NIC cards, mobile apps, and authentication servers will all benefit from the gateway's enhanced capabilities:

  • The WG-1000 facilitates transition from pre-802.1x network topographies. It does this by passing 802.1x traffic between enabled APs and servers or processing non-802.1x traffic with no performance degradation while supporting both environments simultaneously.
  • The gateway ensures that device-to-server tansmissions are seamless - even in a multi-vendor implementation.
  • The gateway provides network access control by authenticating users - not just devices. -- Each packet is individually inspected prior to receiving access to specified parts of the network. This enables tight control over individual acess on a large network to sensitive data. According to Bluesocket, it also enables what it calls Class of Service (CoS) controls, such as banwidth management based on user or group profile.
  • Gateway use effectively centralizes manangement for maintenance and new security implementations.

    According to Gartner VP, Research Director and conference chair John Girard, "802.1x is the strategic direction for a standard to replace WEP. However, it is still evolving, and users working with vendor-specific implementations will face interoperability challenges."

    Bluesocket highlighted the fact that the WG-1000 is RF-standards-agnostic, and is compatible with future WLAN standards including 802.11a, 802.11g, and HiperLAN2.

    The WG-1000 sits between an enterprise's access point (base stations) and the rest of the network, acting as a secure gatetway between the wired and wireless components.

    Matthew Peretz is Managing Editor of 802.11-Planet.com



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