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AirDefense Secures Cisco?

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is rumored to be leaning toward wireless LAN security startup AirDefense Inc. for the development of 802.11 enterprise kit.

Several sources have told Unstrung that a tieup is brewing, although specific details remain sketchy. AirDefense provides wireless intrusion and protection kit used to warn IT administrators of attacks on the network (see AirDefense Secures WLAN).

AirDefense certainly isn’t denying any potential deal. “I’m not able to talk to you about this,” a spokeswoman tells Unstrung.

Such scuttlebutt has been strengthened by an upcoming Webcast presentation involving both companies, detailed on the startup’s Website.

A deal of some kind wouldn’t be too surprising in light of analysts' forecasts earlier this year that wireless LAN equipment vendors will be teaming up with specialist intrusion detection software vendors (see IDS Shakeout Ahead? and Unstrung Insider: Got IDS?).

“AirDefense has one of the most recognized and mature wireless security monitoring products on the market,” comments Unstrung Insider's chief analyst, Gabriel Brown. “For example, in June it was adopted as the technology behind IBM’s wireless intrusion detection managed security service." (See AirDefense Links With IBM.)

“It’s also recognized in the industry that Cisco’s wireless 'air' monitoring security offering isn’t the most competitive,” notes Brown. “Several sources say they’ve seen Cisco and AirDefense in joint bid situations recently."

Furthermore, it has been suggested that Cisco is not committing itself to working only with AirDefense and is looking at ways to expand its ecosystem of wireless LAN partners via some kind of XML-based API for its Wireless LAN Solutions Engine module. "It could be a bit like Symbol did recently with its Mobility Services Suite,” adds Brown (see Symbol Crashes In).

Cisco is keeping its lips tightly sealed. "I cannot comment on discussions that may or may not be taking place with other vendors,” says a (non)-spokesperson.

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung
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