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Schoolin' Endpoints

Security startup Network Chemistry Inc. has jazzed up its WiFi endpoint security software so its sensors can deal with more incidents simultaneously.

The new release of the firm's RFprotect Distributed system means that Network Chemistry's hardware sensors can now stop dozens of rogue devices from connecting to a user's network or other peer devices. The firm says it can handle multiple incidents from a single sensor.

Doug Vandevrie, senior network specialist at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, says the pilot he has been running using the new system has proven to be an economical way for the university to stop peer-to-peer WiFi connections -- which are prohibited under the school's security policies.

"I wouldn't say they were the only vendor that could do this," says Vandevrie, "but this was the cost-effective way for us to get an entry-level system."

Ad-hoc peer-to-peer groups had been a big problem on the University's 600 access point network, which is spread across five buildings and can service a couple of thousand concurrent users.

Vandevrie's team used to get complaints from users that couldn't get service on the network, but when they checked out the problem they often found that the user was actually connecting to an ad-hoc work group that resembled the network but was putting out a higher signal to nearby users.

"We had no visibility into the RF spectrum," says Vandevrie. "And no way to control it."

The Network Chemistry installation means the university can now actually put its peer-to-peer ban into action. The university has so far deployed 50 sensors to monitor the WiFi network on campus.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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