AirDefense has shifted gears with a new version of its wireless security product that expands management features. A very economic data gathering function in AirDefense 7.0 will gather all the information you need for historic performance reporting, using only 3Kbit/s of throughput, says the company.

The offering, which combines radio sensors, a rack-mounted security appliance and systems software, has been reworked to incorporate a very fast, custom-built data storage facility, instead of an external SQL database. "We have a patent pending optimised mechanism that gives full fidelity, in less than 3Kbit/s between sensor and server," said Jay Chaudhry, AirDefense chairman. An earlier version of AirDefense was reviewed here.

The new data store, dubbed Intelli, can collect and manage data on about 250 variables per minute for each wireless client and access point on the WLAN. Variables include signal strength, historical record of typical signal strength, the encryption being used, details on the devices, what clients are associated with a given access point, and so on. For each device, the 7.0 release can store as much as 200 days worth of data.

When a new device is detected on the WLAN, the AirDefense product can now collect a mass of data on the device's behaviour and features, and compare that with the patterns of comparable nearby access points or clients. Algorithms use real-time data combined with historical patterns to create a "threat assessment score" for the new device, according to AirDefense executives.

The new data store also makes it possible to boost the number of wireless devices that can be managed by a factor of five, to 10,000 sensors and 300,000 devices.

Also new is version 3.0 of AirDefense Personal, a client program announced a year ago, that can be downloaded to corporate laptops, where it can enforce a range of WLAN security policies when users are tapping into public wireless hot spots or a home WLAN.

"We've taken orders for AirDefense Personal, for more than 250,000 laptops," said Jay Chaurdhry chairman of AirDefense. "There's tremendous pent-up demand for functionality like this."

AirDefense Enterprise pricing remains unchanged, with sensors at about $1,000 each, an entry-level security appliance for $5,000 and a high-end version for $12,000.