Why enterprise WLANs need wireless gateways

Security, management, scalability and bandwidth

Tight wireless LAN security and an open systems approach to wireless authentication are claimed by Bluesocket for the WGX-4000, its latest WLAN gateway.

The device sits between the WLAN access points (APs) and the wired LAN, and can support hundreds of simultaneous users. It acts as a firewall and VPN for wireless clients, and also provides centralised management and VPN roaming.

"It hands off sessions between networks like the mobile phone systems do," says Bluesocket's product marketing director Rohit Mehra. "We think that, with WLAN standards changing so fast, it's better to go with dumb access points and spend your money on infrastructure instead."

A key feature is that the WGX-4000 doesn't require proprietary software on the wireless client, Mehra says: "We can work with any client software, or none. We could work with Funk or Cisco VPN clients, say, or with the ones provided as standard with Windows."

The gateway uses the authentication database from the wired network, and can also enforce policies, allocating bandwidth and prioritising WLAN traffic based on user IDs and roles.

Mehra says that as WLAN usage expands, the issue of how to share the limited bandwith available is becoming more important. "In the wired world everyone overbuilt their networks, but AP bandwidth has to be shared equitably," he adds. © ®

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