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.

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