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Wednesday, May 04, 2005
A New Security Layer for Wi-Fi

Bringing a new level of security to consumers and IT organizations alike, Engim has forged a partnership with AirDefense to deliver an added layer of security in a Wi-Fi chip ? an intrusion prevention system.

While the IEEE standard for security, 802.11i, offers authentication and encryption, this new chip set from Engim and AirDefense takes that a step further. It is built on top of the still-in-progress 802.11i spec but it also adds intrusion protection.

?Ever since AirDefense has been in this business, people have been looking for the holy grail -- how do you deliver wireless voice and data securely together with QOS (quality of service),? said Anil Khatod, CEO of AirDefense. The two companies believe they have the answer in the form of AirDefense?s technology embedded into Engim?s Wi-Fi chipset. That makes it the first in the industry product to offer intrusion detection and Wi-Fi functionality together, company officials said.

The AirDefense-Engim multi-function platform includes Engim?s EN-3002 a WLAN chipset that enables simultaneous communications for voice and data at peak performance while providing IPS sensor capabilities across multiple channels. AirDefense?s intrusion prevention technology continuously monitors all RF spectrum activities enabling advanced rogue detection, policy enforcement, intrusion prevention and operational health monitoring of the wireless LAN, the company said.

?Today on 70 percent of all wireless laptops people do not use any encryption or authentication mechanism,? said Khatod. ?A system like AirDefense ensures that the network administrator can enforce the policy of only authenticated and encrypted traffic.?

Such a system protects consumer data.

Charleston, S.C. is one of the first cities to deploy a citywide Wi-Fi network, enabling citizens everywhere to get Internet access. But the new system didn?t take into account what would happen to existing wireless LANs that needed a higher level of security, such as banks. The 802.11i standard would not protect against rouges in such an environment, Khatod said, but AirDefense?s intrusion protection mechanisms could keep out those who don?t belong.

And in an age when identity theft is on the rise while at the same time wireless LANs are being deployed in huge numbers, that added level of security has gained a new level of importance.

?One of fastest deployments of Wi-Fi today is in health care organizations,? said Khatod. ?Another big one is retail. Major retail stores use barcode readers for inventory management and they all use Wi-Fi.?

The companies are demonstrating their integrated product this week at Networld+Interop.

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