Madge, a supplier of enterprise Wireless Local Area Networking (WLAN) management and security technology, today forecast that the market is poised to leave concerns over WLAN security behind in 2005. According to Martin Malina, CEO of Madge, vendors and IT managers are moving to resolve the security issues that have delayed widespread deployments of enterprise wireless networks over the past couple of years.
However, there are still plenty more battles to be fought among those seeking a share of this market, estimated at $2.2 billion worldwide in 2004 (DellOro Group). Madge reckons the new battlegrounds will centre on four critical areas. First, ease of deployment; second, wired and wireless network integration; third, scalability; and, finally, how users will be able to take advantage of emerging standards.
The latest multi-function appliances, which today feature elements formerly offered as individual components, are starting to make deployment of large WLANs far easier. Multi-function devices typically feature an Ethernet switch, Power over Ethernet, hardware encryption, security, WLAN management and the capability to interface with the existing enterprise network management system, continued Malina. This straight away leads to easier and quicker deployment and tighter integration.
Such systems can configure trusted wireless access points by profiles, are secure out-of-the-box, for infrastructure and clients, at the same time as isolating rogues and untrusted wireless activity, and communicate with incumbent IT infrastructure services.
The market is also changing with regards to access points. These are rapidly converging to become all-in-one devices with the potential of supporting multiple 802.11 standards. They are automatically configured (Zero Config) and feature enterprise class security, coupled with Intrusion Protection.
The issue of integrating wireless with existing wired networks will become increasingly important. No one wants a second network management system for WLANs. added Malina, Large enterprises have invested significant amounts of capital and expertise in large scale wired network management systems and will accept nothing less than the full integration of the wireless component.
A successful solution must integrate with legacy networks and their management systems on a multi-site basis, offer integrated WAN connectivity options, plus have the ability to provide Quality of Service features enabling voice over WLAN (VoWLAN) going forward.
Madges WLAN offering is ready for these challenges, he concluded. Our architecture contains all the elements to integrate the various existing and emerging trends and technologies in order to significantly increase the return on WLAN investments.