• United States
Executive Editor

SonicWall looks to secure wireless nets

Apr 24, 20032 mins
Cellular NetworksNetworkingSecurity

* SonicWall's SOHO TZW

SonicWall is introducing a single device that can secure wireless networks in home or branch offices.

Called SOHO TZW, the device uses VPN technology in two ways. First, it acts as a VPN router to secure Internet links between the site where it sits and other sites. In this regard, it behaves like an older piece of SonicWall gear called the SOHO 3.

The device also uses VPN technology to connect with wireless PCs in the office, addressing concerns that wireless technology is insecure and vulnerable to so-called drive-by hackings by unauthorized users lurking nearby with wireless laptops.

SOHO TZW customers install SonicWall VPN software on the authorized laptops, and whenever users connect to the wireless network, the software creates an IPsec tunnel between the PC and the SOHO TZW. The VPN tunnel ensures that the link is secured and has not been tampered with.

The wireless tunnel is terminated inside the SOHO TZW. If the wireless user wants to access another site via the Internet, the SOHO TZW sets up a separate tunnel for that.

The benefits of this design are many. Using wireless technology reduces the need to wire many small and home offices, saving time and money. It leaves the physical layout of these offices flexible, making it less costly and time consuming to move people around within these offices.

The box also secures wireless connections and Internet connections using a single, remotely manageable device. This is desirable for small offices and home offices, but formerly required more devices. This reduces network complexity and is less expensive than the multiple-device alternative.

According to users, the device is simple enough for nontechnical workers to set up, and can then be managed centrally by IT staff, making it unnecessary to send technical staff to each office to set up the boxes.

Companies looking to outfit a group of home offices will want to consider this device, especially if the company remote-access architecture calls for Internet-based VPNs over a dedicated link such as a DSL or cable modem connection.

SOHO TZW is available for $895.