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Fortinet Branches Into Wireless With Enterprise WLAN

Security vendor Fortinet has announced its first entry into the enterprise WLAN market space with its FortiAP access points. The company has extended the operating system of its FortiGate security appliances to serve as controllers for these deployed, thin access points, adding another dimension to Fortinet's already multitasking appliances.

Fortinet's initial wireless offering will feature the 200 series of indoor access points, with both single and dual radio 802.11a/b/g/n models, the AP-210 and AP-220 respectively.  Both models will offer 2x2 Multiple In/Multiple Out (MIMO) and switchable 2.4 or 5 Ghz primary radios. The second radio in the AP-220 model can be configured to provide concurrent access on both frequencies or serve as a dedicated wireless monitor, searching for rogue access points or other intrusion attempts. The Fortigate appliances, from the FortiGate-60 Series and up, will provide centralized command and control for the local access points, acting as wireless controllers and wireless intrusion prevention solutions.  Pricing for the new access points has not been released and are expected to ship in Q3 2010.

Fortinet's leap in the WLAN market is a logical direction for the company, as a number of the recent high profile security breaches have used WiFi as the attack vector.  Fortinet is well respected in security circles and will bring that strong security posture to the wireless network.  In stark contrast to the other start-up WLAN vendors , the company can come into the market with at least some brand recognition and an established customer base of its appliances. 

While prospective customers can buy Fortinet's wireless solutions without wondering if the company will be around years from now, there is more to enterprise wireless networks than security policies. It is not yet clear whether Fortinet's products will include important enterprise features such as wireless meshing or 3G WAN back-up. This could cause existing customers to pause before upgrading to 802.11n on their incumbent wireless platform.