RealTime IT News

CA Airs Wireless Manager

Officials at Computer Associates announced the availability of an application aimed at simplifying and strengthening Wi-Fi networks. Wireless Site Management 4.0 (WSM), first introduced in May, is designed to augment the company's Unicenter Network and Systems Management Network Performance Option -- a reporting and network health application -- and eTrust security management platform.

WSM features a variety of wireless management functions to streamline the administration of 802.11x networks: automatic WLAN discovery and mapping; automatic detection and disabling of unauthorized wireless connections; access point load balancing and automatic channel allocation; and WEP key management.

The eTrust security element prevents unwanted users from accessing the wireless network. To take advantage of this feature, network users need to install a WSM agent -- which authenticates the user -- on their laptop, PDA or other mobile device. Security administrators set up "access zones" for individual users on the network, customizable to allow connections only at certain access points or during certain times of the day.

Sumit Deshpande, vice president of development in CA's wireless solutions group, said enterprises have been for the most part good at securing their networks from wireless snoops or unauthorized users.

However, wireless network usage has gone beyond simply finding an enterprise Wi-Fi hotspot and logging on, he said. New capabilities, and new security measures, are needed now that the technology is getting more sophisticated and popular.

"[WLANs] initially started off very slow because of the inherent security risks, but now people are taking different measures," Deshpande said. "Some of them use VPN ; some of them require you to use some authentication processes like 802.1x. There are standards-based controls out there. What we do is make it easier for enterprises to use those standard measures to protect their environment."

Deshpande said the next version of WSM will be available in the next six to nine months, with 802.11i -- the Wi-Fi security standard slowly wending its way through the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) process -- support at the top of the list.

WSM 4.0 licenses are based on a per-manager basis starting at $15,000, with a recommended 100 users per manager site, or access point.

In related news, CA officials Monday announced the availability of its open source Ingres r3 relational database on the Linux and Windows operating systems. In August, the company released the source code to the worldwide community in a bid to spark interest in the relatively little-known database.