AirDefense has released a new version of its wireless intrusion-prevention software for enterprise wireless LANs, which adds an optional software application for analysing and troubleshooting the physical layer of enterprises' wireless environments.

The 7.3 version of AirDefense Enterprise can use two Wi-Fi radio frequencies, 2.4 and 5GHz, to detect possible interference from Bluetooth devices, microwave ovens or other radios. The new software program works with the vendor's existing radio sensors, analyses the data it collects from them, and displays the results.

Also new is a centralised management console that spans scores of AirDefense appliances. In the past, each appliance was managed by its own console.

AirDefense also introduced three appliance models: replacements for its existing low-end and midrange servers, managing up to 150 and 500 sensors respectively; and a new high-end device, with redundant hard drives and power supplies, that can manage at least 37,000 active wireless devices.

Additionally, the vendor's existing optional Advanced Forensics application has been updated so that it can analyse traffic patterns and radio behaviour (325 variables in all) over much longer periods of time, now months or even years.

Spectrum analysis traditionally has been the domain of specialised and often expensive tools. They can be more or less portable devices, used for personally scanning a specific location, or sensor systems that blanket a site and constantly monitor the air waves.

Airdefense's archrival AirMagnet introduced spectrum analysis in its intrusion-prevention software in 2006. That was based on an OEM deal with Cognio for its Spectrum Expert product. Cisco bought Cognio in 2007 and rebranded the product.

AirDefense decided to write its own spectrum-analysis software that could exploit the data collected by its existing radio sensors.

Other changes include new code that can pull information about devices on a Cisco WLAN from Cisco's WLAN controllers. A new tool called Device Manager creates a table-based view of information on devices in a given area, such as all access points assigned to channel six.

A starter AirDefense Enterprise 7.3 kit begins at US$8,000 (£4050) for one appliance, software, and five sensors. Each additional sensor is $995 (£500). The Spectrum Analysis module costs $195 (£100) per sensor; the Advanced Forensics module is also $195 per sensor.