Carrier WiFi

CMC Launches Security Tester

Wireless LAN startup Communication Machinery Corp. has developed a new client emulation product that it says will allow users to stress test the security performance of wireless LAN networks in the field.

The company is claiming to be first to market with a product that can emulate up to 59 clients using the new(ish) wireless protected access (WPA) security specification on a network of 802.11 access points (APs).

The Emulation XT box, which is basically a stripped-down AP, small enough to be battery-powered, can pump out unique MAC addressses and simulate the key-based security techniques used in WPA.

The XT product starts shipping this week. CMC's president and CFO, Larry Green, says that the firm is now working on an update so that the box can support the WPA 2 specification.

Green says that his existing products are mainly used by three groups: wireless LAN developers that want to check product performance; IT managers that want to stress-test network installations; and hotspot providers.

"They want to test a hotspot before they let the crowds in," says Green.

CMC is a management funded startup that launched three years ago, by some of the founders that launched a company with the same name back in 1981, as a design shop for chipmaker Atheros Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ATHR), and then moved into the testing arena.

"We're a company of engineers that makes products for engineers," says Green.

Apart from CMC, there are two relatively new startups involved in the emerging market of WiFi performance testing. Azimuth Systems Inc., which has developed a system aimed at hardware and chipset vendors that want to performance test products in the lab without RF interference, and VeriWave, a firm that is pushing the advanced timing features of its system, which has just started shipping.

CMC's Green says he's in "friendly competition" with Azimuth, and claims all three startups offer different tools for somewhat different types of testing.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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