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Juniper Unwires NetScreen

Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) has -- finally -- launched an enterprise wireless LAN product that builds on its NetScreen security product line.

The NetScreen-5GT Wireless is a branch office box that combines a security gateway with a wireless access point. The 5GT can support both 802.11b (11 Mbit/s over 2.4GHz) and g using a chipset from Atheros Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ATHR). (See Juniper Selects Atheros Chipset.)

The security side of the box offers deep packet inspection and stateful firewall capabilities, VPN, denial-of-service, and optional antivirus protection.

The box also implements four "wireless security zones," which can handle different security levels for different users and applications. Juniper does this by broadcasting separate "virtual" service set identifiers (SSIDs) for each zone. Other vendors, such as Juniper's partner Colubris Networks Inc., offer similar capabilities for security and mixed use network applications (see Colubris's Enterprise Ambitions).

So, will this new product end speculation about Juniper's wireless LAN strategy and possible acquisitions in the space (see Juniper's Wireless Hole)? It seems unlikely, since the box is very focused on branch office applications.

As Unstrung Insider chief analyst Gabriel Brown points out, the system doesn't really address the mobility, radio network management, or intrusion detection needs of larger wireless LAN networks.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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