AirTight: From WIPS to EWLS

While we should be seeing consolidation in the enterprise Wi-Fi space, the opposite is happening, and AirTight Networks is one of the latest to offer an innovative, interesting, and even enticing combination of access, assurance, and cloud-based management.

Airtight Networks has been one of the leading suppliers of wireless intrusion protection systems (WIPS) since their founding, and is best known for their SpectraGuard Enterprise security system. SpectraGuard Enterprise consists of a server with a Web-based console and "scanners" that act as sensors. As it turns out, the difference between a scanner and an access point (AP) is fairly minimal; indeed, we've already seen some vendors integrate the two. So it's not much of a leap to integrate WLAN assurance functionality with an enterprise-class WLAN system (or EWLS; a term I just made up, but that I will certainly use again in upcoming postings here), creating a far more comprehensive offering. Add in, well, read on, though, and innovation, and differentiation are alive and well in the EWLS space.

So, anyway, that's just what AirTight has done with their latest announcement, the C60 AP platform. The C60 is 3x3, dual-radio, and (finally!) we have a product where each radio can be independently configured for either band. One radio might also be used for scanning while the other communicates, or both could be used for scanning simultaneously, thus providing assurance services for both bands. WIPS is of course included, management is (public or private) cloud-based and via HTML5, and the system is available for purchase or lease. The management interface is also fully customizable, which has been my #1 wish-list item for network management in general for some time. There's a lot here, with a high degree of both function and flexibility. So, is the WLAN industry boring or consolidating yet? No way!

Yes, I've been away for a month. Well, no, not really; I just haven't posted anything here because it's been really busy at Farpoint Group this Summer, and I assumed that many people would want to take some time off anyway. My postings will remain spotty through August, but Fall is already shaping up to be a very busy time around here - more testing projects, more Webinars, more conferences, and, well, just more. We're celebrating our 21st birthday on 14 August, and I remain amazed at the high level of activity not just in WLANs, but in wireless and mobile across the globe. So, consolidation is inevitable? Maybe, but not yet. Not by a long shot.

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