Interlink Networks and Trapeze Networks announced on Tuesday that they have partnered to help large enterprises get over the hurdle of 802.11 wireless LAN (WLAN) deployment.
Through the partnership, Interlink -- a network security and access control software developer -- will provide user management, while WLAN systems provider Trapeze will take care of the physical network, according to Randy Dence, vice-president of marketing and product management at Interlink.
Trapeze takes care of the wireless LAN, including access points and their deployment and manageability while Interlink supplies the management of the users, Dence explained. "So now, you bring that together and you have both user management and network management and that's pretty much the whole pie."
He added that the partnership allows organizations to control not only the physical network through Trapeze's solution, but also who has access and who does not. This is done through Interlink's remote authentication dial-in user service (RADIUS)- and standards-based solution. RADIUS is an access control protocol that uses a challenge/response method for authentication.
Dence highlighted security as a major roadblock still preventing many large enterprises from deploying wireless capabilities within their organizations. He added, however, that with the development of the Wi-Fi Alliance -- a non-profit international association formed in 1999 to certify interoperability of WLAN products based on IEEE 802.11 specification -- companies have no reason for such concerns.
Dence added that "the industry is blessed" with standards that have come out of the alliance including Wi-Fi protected access (WPA), a security protocol for 802.11 wireless networks, which is based on RADIUS and user authentication providing strong 802.1x authentication.
Trapeze is planning to use its Wireless LAN Mobility System, which it introduced earlier this year, to hold up its end of the partnership. The system works by integrating wired with wireless, thus allowing businesses to treat the WLAN as an independent, parallel, add-on infrastructure with its own unique set of problems and costs, according to the company.
With its mobility system, Trapeze plans to fortify Interlink's RADIUS-based software with an additional layer of WLAN security and management by using 802.1x authentication to verify user identities and block intruder access to corporate data resources, Interlink said.
Warren Wilson, a practice director at Summit Strategies, agreed with Dence that the security of mobile devices is still a major enterprise concern.
He added that companies' concerns stem from a couple of different standpoints, including the fact that wireless devices are easily lost or stolen, "making the information on them highly vulnerable."
The various types of intrusions that mobile devices are susceptible to are also a concern for organizations, Wilson said, adding that although intrusion attempts can be effectively detected and blocked, the technologies to do this are still very new and confusing to many companies.
"Solutions and best practices are still evolving, so customers face a lot of confusion and it is indeed inhibiting adoption," he said.