Wireless Networks: Untangled but Still Tied in Knots

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Recently, the State of Utah announced awarding NLE a 2 year contract for the sale and implementation of a multi-vendor management and security console for wireless networks WLAN. Under this contract of promising relief, NLE can provide all the necessary software, hardware and installation services for the State’s wireless management and security endeavors. The network will use the Airwave Management Platform (AMP), and a combination of other security tools to manage and secure all major wireless vendors.

Wireless is clearly the future in computing. As industry giants, such as Intel, Cisco, Nortel, Apple and Proxim all compete for the wireless business, the industry has been left in turmoil of ever-shifting standards and manufacturing consolidations. In fact, since the formation of the IEEE 802.11 committee, over 10 standards have been approved with most requiring a hardware change to leverage the newer technology. The committee’s current activities promise more than 13 new standards to meet the insatiable user demand for better untethered access.

“Security is still the biggest problem looming over the technology,” says Eric Winegar, President and CEO of NLE, a Utah based wireless network Value Added Reseller. A clear message echoing in the industry shows that access point misconfigurations, along with undefined or unenforced security policies on the wireless network, leave providers of wireless services, i.e. the enterprises and government institutions, vulnerable to attack and compromises security. As wireless network infrastructures age, radio standards will pass them by. “The biggest challenge to security is consistent configuration management and policy monitoring coupled with enforcement,” Winegar continues.

With a plethora of manufacturers and proprietary interfaces for management of the access point, the sheer volume of individual radios and management interfaces are staggering. With a typical college campus averaging over 1000 radios, touching each radio for software updates and configuration validation is like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Before you finish with the last radio, a critical update to patch a vulnerability must be uploaded. Winegar adds “Even with a strict policy of NO WIRELESS, entities still lack enforcement to this Rouge Access Point policy, until now.”

Recently, the State of Utah awarded NLE a 2 year contract for the sale and implementation of a multi-vendor management and security console. Under this contract of promising relief, NLE can provide all the necessary software, hardware and installation services for the State’s wireless management and security endeavors. The network will use the Airwave Management Platform (AMP), and a combination of other security tools, to manage and secure all major wireless vendors. The wireless network management software, created by AirWave Wireless, Inc. of San Mateo, CA, provides a web-based software solution to manage wireless networks. Using AMP, network managers will have a single point of intelligent control from which to monitor, analyze, and configure their networks in real-time, including multi-vendor wireless network infrastructure. With AMP, network managers will improve their wireless network security by detecting misconfigured and rogue access points, reduce costs associated with WLAN management by automating firmware updates and minimizing training requirements, and optimize WLAN performance.

The AirWave Management Platform is widely used in Utah, at sites including the Utah Valley State College, LDS Business College and Granite Independent School District in Salt Lake City.

To learn more about the State’s contract, NLE’s products and services, or about the AirWave Management Platform, please contact NLE at (801)377-0074, email at sales@nle.com, or visit NLE’s website at http://www.nle.com.

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Abish Hapairai
NLE
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