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Aruba Locks Down Voice

Aruba Wireless Networks is trying to elbow itself a space in the increasingly crowded voice-over-WLAN (VOWLAN) market with a software package that focuses on securing communications over 802.11 networks.

The switch startup's VOIP package will enable the use of new VOIP handsets and "soft phones" via PDAs -- but the software is just as much about limiting their use and giving the customer administrative control over VOIP devices.

The worry about smaller communications devices is that they will provide hackers with a back door into a supposedly secure 802.11 network. This is because VOIP handsets and PDAs frequently only support older 802.11 security like static WEP keys -- if they support anything at all (see Boeing's WLAN Security Flight).

"There's a huge security issue around voice," says Keerti Melkote, VP of product marketing at Aruba. He contends that communications devices could be used maliciously to "spoof" an insecure network to collect data that a hacker could then use to compromise the entire WiFi network.

Aruba's solution is to identify voice traffic and use its integrated firewall technology to only open predetermined parts of the network to that data while allowing administrators to automatically block these clients on sensitive areas of the network.

The software includes voice traffic prioritization QOS code, and Aruba says that its centralized architecture avoids the handoff problems that can affect VOIP applications on standalone 802.11 access point networks.

Much like its rivals, Airespace Inc. and Trapeze Networks Inc., Aruba's VOWLAN announcement includes partnerships around its voice offering. Aruba says it will support communications kit from SpectraLink Corp. (Nasdaq: SLNK), TeleSym Inc., and Vocera Communications Inc.

Aruba has also built in support for Session Initiation Protocol in the software so that it can support that code as more devices that use SIP come on the market.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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