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Senior Editor

Vernier boosts mgmt., security of WLAN pack

Feb 23, 20043 mins
Network SecuritySecurityWi-Fi

A new version of Vernier Networks’ WLAN security and management software could be a major step forward in simplifying wireless deployments, according to one beta tester.

A new version of Vernier Networks‘ WLAN security and management software could be a major step forward in simplifying wireless deployments, according to one beta tester.

One change in Version 4.0 that could have the most immediate impact for administrators is the redesigned GUI, which makes it easier and faster to assign, monitor and change the access rights of lots of users.

Other changes include:

• The ability to manage up to 10,000 – a 10-fold increase over the pervious version.

• A filter for detecting and quarantining infected wireless clients.

• A data-analysis program, called Vernier Reporter, to run trend analyses of user activity.

• Giving WLAN bandwidth priority to users based on their identity, application, time of day, etc.

Vernier is one of many firms, including BluesocketCranite and Fortress, that sell software running on controllers to secure and manage enterprise WLANs.

Wireless access points plug into a Vernier AM 6500 Access Manager, which is a rack-mounted appliance for remote offices or LAN segments. The Access Managers filter wireless packets and enforce network security and management policies. These devices connect with one or more Vernier CS 6500 Control Servers, usually in a regional or headquarters office. This server hosts the Vernier management software, handles connections to RADIUS or other authentication systems, and stores data and rules on user access rights.

Hitachi Consulting, the Dallas consulting arm of Hitachi, chose Vernier last year to solve the security problems anticipated with the rollout of new laptops equipped with built-in WLAN adapters. The company wanted to make sure clients connecting to the WLAN access points were Hitachi users, accessing only data, applications, and other corporate resources for which they were authorized, according to Michael Shisko, IT director for the consulting group.

They deployed Vernier Access Managers at 15 sites, which have about six access points, and one Control Server at headquarters.

“Version 4 has significantly improved the visual representation of actions being taken [by administrators],” he says. “Now it’s a simple matter to view the flow of traffic through the various [access] rules, and to re-order the rules if necessary.”

Version 4.0 is shipping on the Vernier hardware. A redundant system, with two Control Servers, and three Access Managers for 3,000 users costs $35,000. The Vernier Reporter is a free upgrade for customers. At some point, it will sell as an optional program, for about $3,000. n

Senior Editor

I cover wireless networking and mobile computing, especially for the enterprise; topics include (and these are specific to wireless/mobile): security, network management, mobile device management, smartphones and tablets, mobile operating systems (iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10), BYOD (bring your own device), Wi-Fi and wireless LANs (WLANs), mobile carrier services for enterprise/business customers, mobile applications including software development and HTML 5, mobile browsers, etc; primary beat companies are Apple, Microsoft for Windows Phone and tablet/mobile Windows 8, and RIM. Preferred contact mode: email.

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