Meru Touts RF-Level Wireless LAN Security

Wireless infrastructure specialist Meru Networks has developed security software that can jam radio signals from rogue access points and scramble genuine signals, and thus protect wireless networks at the RF

January 17, 2006

2 Min Read
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LONDON — Wireless infrastructure specialist Meru Networks has developed security software that can jam radio signals from rogue access points and scramble genuine signals, and thus protect wireless networks at the RF signal level.

The company’s Security Services Module, a software module that works in combination with its range of wireless LAN products, notably its access points and radio switches, is expected to be shipping in the second quarter of the year.

Meru (Sunnyvale, Calif.) says the module, which uses its patent-pending AirShield technology, uses advanced micro-scanning, radio scrambling and transmission jamming to ensure military-grade, radio frequency security for any enterprise.

Wireless LAN security is still a major concern to enterprises since, even with packet encryption, networks can still be vulnerable to passive eavesdropping and information can be gleaned from those packets when using a wireless connection.

Meru claims its solution offers security that other systems are unable to match, and that the module achieves its scanning without disrupting network services. The module functions as part of Meru‘s System Director operating system and is installed on the WLAN System‘s Controller.The three key features in the security solution are layered on top of standard Wi-Fi protection.

Micro-scanning allows an AP to inspect packets and scan channels for security violations while transmissions destined for other APs continue uninterrupted. If a packet is incoming to the scanning AP, that AP processes the packet in a few microseconds, then continues to scan.

This technique lets every AP on the network act simultaneously as a monitor and Wi-Fi access point without disrupting service to clients. This, the company says, is particularly important for running wireless VoIP.

Meru also maintains that, unlike traditional rogue access prevention mechanisms, the way it induces radio jamming prevents rogue packets from ever being seen on the network, reducing network traffic overhead and ensuring that rogues have no chance to commit spoofing-type attacks.

The transmission scrambling, which prevent attacks before they happen, is also achieved in a different way from the traditional schemes that take packets and randomize the bits, giving only the sender and receiver the key to recovering the information.Meru‘s module is said to go a step further and adds an RF-level scrambling in which only the sender and receiver are able to see the transmission and all other clients see only white noise.

"With the rise of wireless VoIP in the enterprise and the increasing use of wireless networks for mission-critical applications, we recognized that today‘s enterprises require a higher level of wireless security than what is currently available,” said Joel Vincent, director of marketing for Meru Networks.

However, unlike security software upgrades from several other vendors, Meru will be charging extra for the module that it believes offers a much higher level of protection. The upgrade will cost $2,500 in the U.S., for 50 access points.

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