Wi-Fi switch-maker Colubris has launched a three radio access point that can deliver wireless LAN services on two radio channels while scanning continuously for wireless security risks on the third one.
The MAP-630's three 802.11abg radios can each operate in either Wi-Fi band. As well as security scanning, it can also be used in a mesh configuration, in which one radio provides backhaul.
"Greenfield sites can install a single integrated network that does both full time security as well as two channels of network access," said Carl Blume, director of product marketing at Colubris. Such sites can put in the MAP-630 throughout, while those with existing networks might replace some access points with it, and upgrade other access points with scanning software.
Although some vendors have raised doubts over the ability to run multiple radio access points on existing powered Ethernet installations, these difficulties only arise on the more powerful MIMO-based and draft-n access points, which run more data channels between client and access point, says Blume: "This can be powered over existing PoE - draft-N needs more power because it has multiple channels."
Despite this, the scanning radio should be able to pick up rogue draft-N access points, with a software upgrade due when Colubris releases its promised 802.11n access points, this summer, said Blume. This could be important, as staff will bring draft-N consumer access points into the office and open up holes leaks in the network.
Colubris has integrated AirTight's intrusion prevention software, which can respond to threats actively, into its switch. "It can block as many as twenty simultaneous intrusions, while continuing to scan for new threats," said Blume.
The tri-radio AP costs $949. This "provides a pretty strong ROI incentive" for organisations running an overlay sensor network, as they can swap out as many access points as they need for the new one, as well as running sensor software on a time-sahre basis on other access points, said Blume.
By combining Colubris' "local mesh", announced in December, the MAP-630 could be a jack of all trades, saving on cabling for access points in out-of the-way areas, as well as saving on cabling and installation for standalone sensors.