Carrier WiFi

Aruba Spews News

Wireless LAN switch contender Aruba Wireless Networks is ringing in the new year with new software and hardware upgrades and a couple of new customers to add to its list.

On January 17, the firm is preparing to launch more secure tunneling capabilities for its access points and switches and a whole, new "super thin" hybrid access point that can handle both wired and wireless traffic .

David Callisch, communications director at Aruba, says that the firm's move to support IPSec tunneling in its products is key as remote management becomes a bigger issue for companies running wireless LAN networks.

"APs can connect across an untrusted network and build an IP tunnel to connect with the switch," he says. Users can use IPSec to encrypt management traffic and data traffic if they wish. The additional level of encryption can also be used to make secure connections between separate Aruba switches. Aruba will also continue to offer tunneling using the generic routing encapsulation (GRE) protocol.

Aruba's startup rival Airespace Inc. already offers optional IPSec tunneling between the AP and switch but also has the infamous lightweight access point protocol (LWAPP)technology for managing APs from switches (see Night of the (Acronym) Hunter). While Trapeze Networks Inc. uses a proprietary protocol 'twixt AP and switch. Checking out the hardware, the new $599 hybrid AP70 has dual WLAN radios and can support all of the currently ratified 802.11 standards. The propheads at Aruba have installed a USB port in this device, so that it can be upgraded with attachments like faster wireless LAN or Bluetooth cards. It also has detachable antennas, apparently [ed. note: That's hot!].

On the customer side, massive German business software vendor SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP) is taking advantage of Aruba's recently announced wired and wireless security capabilities to control worker and guest access at its corporate facilities (see Aruba Targets Wired World).

In its conference rooms and other public areas, the firm has installed Aruba's "grid points," which force users to authenticate before they get access to the network (see Aruba Grids Up).

Aruba has also been hot slotting, er, spotting in Las Vegas, where McCarran International Airport has installed around 30 of the startup's APs to offer free Internet access to both passengers and airlines at the airport.

The airport is also looking at more sophiscated applications, such as using WiFi-enabled televsions as portable flight information display units that can quickly be installed anywhere in the airport.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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