Wi-Fi Company Homes In On Wireless-LAN Security

Wibhu Technologies Inc., a Wi-Fi network infrastructure company founded in Pune, India, has renamed itself AirTight Networks Inc. and brought in David King as its new chairman and chief executive

November 29, 2004

3 Min Read
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Colorado Springs, Colo. — Wibhu Technologies Inc., a Wi-Fi network infrastructure company founded in Pune, India, has renamed itself AirTight Networks Inc. and brought in David King as its new chairman and chief executive officer.

King, founder of Proxim Inc., has expanded AirTight's reach by broadening the scope of the Spectra suite of tools that Wibhu announced last year, giving the tools additional wireless-LAN-monitoring capabilities to improve enterprise network security. AirTight, which has shifted its corporate headquarters to San Jose, Calif., but employs 70 of its 80 staffers in Pune, has pulled in $10.25 million in venture funding from such firms as Walden International, Trident Capital, Granite Ventures and Blueprint Ventures to support its mission.

SpectraGuard 2.0 uses the live RF coverage maps from the original Spectra tools in combination with auto-classification technology and rogue-location tracking to provide a single tool that classifies access points and clients, tracks access point locations and prevents intrusion. The full hardware and software solution includes a hardware system that sits behind a Layer 2 switch for policy management; two radio platforms, with dual antennas, that act as sensors and specialized access points; and dedicated software that brings together all functions of the previous Spectra family with enhanced security features.

"We will continue to support customers of the existing SpectraPlan and SpectraMon families, but the focus of AirTight will be on this fully integrated security system," King said. "The customer will be the enterprise network manager who wants to identify properly authorized access points, misconfigured access points and rogue access points the network administrator doesn't know about. In fact, even the enterprise that has banned Wi-Fi could use this tool to identify access points that employees have brought into the network without authorization."

Filtering friend from foe
The policy management server, working in conjunction with the distributed sensors, can properly distinguish nearby Wi-Fi networks not on the network from rogue networks that represent a true threat. With first-generation Wi-Fi intrusion-detection systems from competitors, King said, a neighboring WLAN with a strong signal might be identified as hostile. With the AirTight approach, by integrating real-time RF planning tools and sensors with the policy management hardware, the network can filter out neighboring Wi-Fi networks with service set IDs that are not on the network and distinguish them from rogue subnetworks trying to piggyback on the corporate LAN.SpectraSensors operate 24/7, autoclassifying all 802.11 emitters as authorized, neighbor or rogue devices. Network managers can manually set up any portion of the network where they wish to override autoclassifier features. Quarantine features, familiar to managers from antivirus environments, automatically block access points determined to be rogue, misconfigured or insecure.

Because the RF floor-mapping tools are integrated into the policy server, managers can map their known access point devices and even hunt down a rogue AP whose location is unknown.

Starter kit particulars
A starter kit consists of two SpectraSensors plus policy managers, implemented as an all-software solution or as a rack-mounted policy management server. Software-based policy management kits start at $7,500; starter kits with a hardware server are priced from $10,000.

AirTight plans to expand the slate of higher-layer security functions in the future, though King said the company will work with such firewall and antivirus specialists as Juniper Networks, McAfee or CheckPoint to make sure it does not duplicate what is already offered.

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