Airespace, Inc., today announced the availability of "Proactive Key Caching," an extension of the Airespace Wireless Enterprise Platform that enables enterprises to couple the security benefits of the recently ratified IEEE 802.11i specification with real-time performance and seamless mobility. Proactive Key Caching (PKC) enables a single master key to be used by wireless clients as they roam across a wireless network. This extension, which is one hundred percent compliant with the 802.11i standard, was developed in conjunction with Funk Software and Atheros Communications (NASDAQ: ATHR) to eliminate the need for wireless devices to repeatedly re-authenticate with a backend RADIUS server when roaming between Access Points (APs). PKC reduces network latency and increases scalability through better operational efficiency, creating a completely secure Wireless LAN (WLAN) environment that is ideally suited for any business application, from voice and video to real-time data applications.
"The 802.11i standard is vital to our goal of building a stable, reliable, and secure wireless infrastructure," said Boris Shubin, Mid-Atlantic DCP Network Administrator for Dunkin Donuts. "Support for real-time applications, such as the pick-to-voice software we use in our logistics facility, enables us to maintain our high performance and accuracy standards with minimal administration. Through commitment to new technology and their position of leadership within the standards bodies, Airespace continues to deliver competitive advantage and operational efficiency to our organization."
PKC was developed in conjunction with Funk Software and Atheros Communications, leaders in the field of security and WLAN chipsets, respectively. Through innovative technical collaboration, the three companies were able to develop a clean and efficient network design that ensures maximum security and performance, with no impact on existing client devices or backend systems.
"As the market moves towards widespread adoption of the 802.11i specification, provisions must be made for implementing this security standard in a way that does not impact WLAN performance," said Colin Macnab, vice president of marketing and business development for Atheros Communications. "Our collaboration with Funk Software and Airespace will have a significant impact on enterprise WLAN adoption where security and seamless roaming must take place in a scalable manner."
"Proactive Key Caching enables our security products to provide the performance customers expect, while strictly adhering to the security requirements of 802.11i," said Paul Funk, president of Funk Software. "We are pleased to be working with industry leading vendors, such as Airespace and Atheros, to develop innovative solutions that improve upon existing standards for practical enterprise usage."
"As a leader in WLAN security, Airespace is constantly exploring ways of complementing existing standards with unique technical innovation," said Pat Calhoun, CTO and founder of Airespace. "PKC is a great example of how industry-leading vendors can collaborate to solve real issues facing wireless enterprises, paving the way for wider adoption of WLANs in support of real business applications."
Airespace's approach to 802.11i demonstrates the company's unique ability to support real-time applications in a secure WLAN environment. In addition to PKC, the Airespace architecture offers several real-time advantages over competing WLAN security implementations, which include:
* By handling MAC-layer encryption in the Access Point, Airespace is able to take advantage of the traffic-shaping mechanisms allotted for by 802.11e, the emerging IEEE standard for Quality of Service (QoS). 802.11e enables WLANs to make intelligent, real-time decisions pertaining to packet segmentation based upon available bandwidth. For this to be achieved, the WLAN AP must have visibility into all 802.11 traffic and the ability to make decisions in real-time based upon rapidly changing parameters, as is the case with the Airespace WLAN system. Other WLAN solutions that handle all encryption within a centralized controller are not able to capitalize on this important QoS feature, preventing them from maximizing network utilization and overall WLAN performance.
* The Airespace WLAN system supports preemptive handoffs between APs to reduce latency when roaming. In addition, real-time load balancing ensures that traffic volume is efficiently spread out across APs for optimal performance under load. As security policies are created and enforced across all APs in an Airespace network, these parameters follow users as they roam to ensure secure operations with minimal IT intervention. In addition, the above is handled in real-time via Airespace's unique AireWave Director(tm) embedded software. This eliminates the need for IT staff to manually push out configurations to WLAN devices, a process that is ill-equipped to support real-time applications, regardless of the number of "clicks" that it requires.
* Existing customers can implement 802.11i on an Airespace wireless infrastructure via a software upgrade. No hardware changes or additional modules are required in the AP to migrate to the newly ratified standard. In addition, as Airespace supports numerous simultaneous security policies across an entire WLAN system, enterprises can deploy 802.11i in conjunction with other security parameters, such as web-authentication and mobile L2TP and IPSec VPNs.