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Meru, iPolicy partnership to soon bear fruit

Jun 09, 20042 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork SecurityWi-Fi

* Watch for WLAN partnerships

Interesting synergies are emerging between wireless LAN systems makers and security companies. We should soon be seeing the fruits of one partnership announced earlier this year between Meru Networks and iPolicy, which makes a new class of product called “intrusion prevention firewalls,” for example.

As you likely know, Meru markets thin WLAN access points and associated WLAN management controllers, with a heavy emphasis on voice capabilities. For its part, start-up iPolicy recently hit the sweet spot of Gartner’s coveted magic quadrant as both “leader and visionary” in the network security technology category. The company combines multiple types of network security capabilities into a firewall that serves as a network-overlay device that operates at Layers 3-7, meaning that it can conduct deep-packet inspection. 

In March, Meru and iPolicy said that iPolicy’s technology would be integrated into the Meru controller starting in the second half of 2004. By my calendar, that is coming up quickly.

Usually, like traditional firewalls, iPolicy gear sits at the WAN edge of an enterprise network – what used to be the only “door” into the network. However, WLANs create yet another network door that must be safeguarded as carefully as the WAN edge.

IPolicy’s IP Enforcer firewalls integrate multiple security applications in such a way that a device can inspect a given packet just once against multiple rules. The company calls this capability “Single Pass Inspection.”

In other words, if the firewall were checking a packet against policies for access control, URL filtering, intrusion prevention and compliance to a certain antivirus software version, it would have to check the packet just once to determine conformance to all those variables. This prevents the multifunction device from taking performance hits as it attempts to do more and more things.

Watch for a trend in other similar allegiances between WLAN systems companies and more traditional network security and core network service-type companies on the integration front this year.