Building secure enterprise WLANs

Friday, 27 February 2004, 12:46 PM EST

Users want their WLANs. And no wonder, given the convenience and mobility, not to mention the coolness factor. But unless you're in an industry like retail, education or health care, which have gone wireless in a big way, your users may be having a hard time swaying you. Before they resort to building bizarre, elaborate contraptions to hide their access points, consider this: It is possible to build a secure wireless LAN. Not easy, but possible.

When we looked at this subject in June 2002, we said the industry was close to overcoming the security problem. We were partly right. Although plenty of you have implemented secure enterprise WLANs, trade-offs abound. The IEEE's new security standards aren't fully baked, and even when they arrive later this year, they won't be trivial to implement. If you go with existing security standards, such as VPNs, you may not be able to deliver seamless mobility. You can choose a security overlay that provides significant flexibility (no VPN required, greater mobility), but then you'll have another element to manage.

By Dave Molta at NWC.

[ Read more ]

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