3Com Tightens Wireless Security With WIPS

3Com's new wireless intrusion protection system offers the standard fare of rogue AP and client detection, accidental association prevention, and monitors, identifies, and if appropriate, mitigates wireless attacks.

September 10, 2007

2 Min Read
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3Com already offers a strong wired IPS offering with its TippingPointproduct, and now has an offering for its wireless business, too. Their newWIPS (wireless intrusion protection system) product offers the standard fareof rogue AP and client detection, accidental association prevention, andmonitors, identifies, and if appropriate, mitigates wireless attacks.

Both the enterprise and SMB products, namely AirProtect Enterprise andAirProtect Sentry, are OEMed from AirTight Networks. According to JeffSchwartz, product manager for Enterprise Wireless Solutions at 3Com, allvendors were looked at last year, but they considered AirTight the "best inthe industry". But there are likely some other not-so-obvious factors thatlikely contributed to that selection. Siemens Networks has a formalarrangement with 3Com that includes, among other things, to resell 3Com'swired networking gear. Siemens Networks has its own wireless line, HiPathWireless, and also OEMs AirTight's WIDPS gear. To complicate matters, theHiPath Wireless products also has some level of integration with 3Com'sTippingPoint IPS. According to 3Com representatives, AirTight andTippingPoint personnel have been collaborating before this 3Com WIPSannouncement. 3Com also has wireless gear targeted for the SMB market,including a 'unified' switch that includes code from yet another vendor,NextHop. Not surprisingly, AirTight Networks also has a relationship withNextHop.
A significant paradox in all of this is that even though 3Com OEMs theirenterprise wireless gear from Trapeze Networks and Trapeze has a tightrelationship with another WIDPS vendor, AirDefense, 3Com chose AirTightanyways. There has been some speculation around the status of 3Com'srelationship with Trapeze, but company representatives on both sides havestated that it remains in good condition.
Vendor relationships aside, 3Com will be integrating the IPS product intotheir own 3Com Enterprise Management Suite. It will provide monitoring butconfiguration will require using the AirTight console. A future releasewill allow an access point to switch to a sensor and back again, much likewhat AirDefense can do with Trapeze's APs and AirMagnet with Aruba's andCisco's APs. Also coming in a few weeks is a planning tool, also OEMed fromAirTight. In comparison to Trapeze's RingMaster product, the planningproduct can also position sensors in addition to access points on a map.
With all the OEMing going on, the obvious question put to 3Com is whypartner if one can build? 3Com now owns 100% of H3C, previously a jointventure with Huwaei Technologies, and employs 2700 people. Director ofPublic Relations, Kevin Flanagan, chose his words carefully, explaining thatwhen 3Com can achieve market satisfaction via partners, they will do so, butwhen that's not available, they will build it themselves. 3Com is in aunique position with its wired networking business bring wireless and wirednetworking together, and it's already doing that via NextHop's software inits SMB products. If executed properly, 3Com could remain in the top 5 ofwired and wireless networking, as long as Motorola remains weak withoutwired networking gear and Nortel delays with its own wireless plans.

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