January 20, 2004
Wireless LAN hardware provider Colubris Networks Inc. is getting into the enterprise network management software game with a $3,500 application aimed at controlling networks of access points (APs).
The company unveiled its Colubris Networks Management System (CNMS) software, which has been developed by Wavelink Corp., as part of a launch of a new line of multimode enterprise APs and hotspots today (see Colubris Intros Access Devices). The move means the somewhat Canadian firm will now lock antlers with wireless LAN appliance vendors such as Bluesocket Inc. and ReefEdge Inc., as well as switch startups like Airespace Inc., Aruba Wireless Networks, and Trapeze Networks Inc..
Like many of the newer WLAN overlay products, the CNMS software can be used to configure access points and set security and management policies for networks of Colubris and third-party access points without being directly connected to the radio nodes via a switch. Instead, APs can be connected to the software and security databases like Radius over a existing wired switch.
Many of the security elements can be strengthened at the edge of the network when the software is used in conjunction with Colubris access points such as the CN1250, which has an embedded VPN server onboard. Like Cisco Systems Inc.'s SWAN plans, Colubris's full hardware and software offering combines centralized management functions while keeping a soupçon of security out on the WLAN frontier (see Cisco's SWAN Song).
The company is also pushing a new "virtual AP" technology that can be used to ensure that specific users can only get the services that they are permitted by the network administrators (so that, for instance, a guest only gets Internet access, while registered users are allowed to the corporate intranet).
"It’s the industry's first implementation allowing virtual services from a single physical access point," says Colubris CEO Barry Fougere.
The "virtual AP" technology works by spoofing the network into believing that there are up to 16 service set identifiers (SSIDs) being broadcast by a single device. SSIDs are the network names that identify separate wireless LANs. So, using VLAN tagging, network administrators can deliver different services to users on the same access points.
The Colubris enterprise hardware and software package is being rolled out over the course of this month and next month.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung
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