Wireless LAN vendor Aruba Networks will release a new version of its operating software for retail customers grappling with recently mandated security standards.

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards and the Aruba features which meet them, are designed to protect wireless networks being used for online transactions.

The revamped OS version lets Aruba's existing, built-in wireless intrusion detection/prevention application identify access points running the first draft of the emerging IEEE 802.11n high throughput WLAN standard. The Aruba software can identify 802.11n devices on both the 2.4 and 5GHz frequencies. The vendor's thin access points alternate between handling data traffic and scanning the radio bands to monitor for suspicious activities.

For the first time, the Aruba operating system also detects Network Address Translation (NAT) devices, locating these on either the customer's net or a neighbouring WLAN.

In addition, when the Aruba OS documents a security vulnerability, it can automatically report it to WVE, a non-profit industry clearinghouse that catalogues and tracks wireless breaches, weaknesses and threats.

Don Reckles, Aruba's senior marketing manager, predicts these OS changes will be embraced by retail customers because many of them face the prospect of updating their wireless infrastructure and clients to meet the mandatory PCI security standards.

Other changes in the new OS release include:

  • New code to let Aruba controllers and access points be managed by Wavelink's Avalance Mobility Center for managing and securing wireless infrastructure and clients.
  • Operational testing for more than 40 third-party wireless client devices to validate their security, performance and manageability with the Aruba infrastructure.
  • The ability to work with Wi-Fi-based "active RFID" tags from location-tracking vendors Ekahau and Aeroscout, which attach 802.11-based radio tags to medial equipment or other corporate assets to track their location.

The new version of the Aruba operating system will be available on the company's controller and access point product line starting in February; existing customers with software contracts will be upgraded. There is no change in product pricing.