AdventNet has launched a Wi-Fi management software product which it reckons can simultaneously take on security products such as AirMagnet, and management products like Cisco's WLSE, in one much-cheaper package.

"Today, WLAN administrators have to buy two products - one to secure the network (AirMagnet, AirDefense, HighWall etc) and another to manage it (Wavelink, AirWave, WLSE etc)," said Dev Anand, analyst at AdventNet. "Though these offerings add value, they are highly priced."

The WiFi Manager 4.0 identifies more than 40 types of security threats including "rogue" (unauthorised) access points and denial of service attacks. It also provides a web-based management console for wireless networks. As well as managing multi-vendor access points, it uses dedicated hardware sensors, which cost $595 each, for monitoring. The software costs $995.

"We are almost on par with AirMagnet on wireless security functionality," said Anand. "Currently we lack site survey and location awareness capabilities, which we will be adding in our subsequent releases."

The product has won praise from some integrators: "WiFi Manager is an affordable alternative to high priced WLAN management systems such as Cisco WLSE," said Larry Wheeler, of system integrator Network Consulting Solutions. "We recommended WiFi Manager to our clients and the response has been very positive. Though their network is critical to them, they simply cannot afford huge management applications such as HP Openview or CA UniCenter."

As well as spotting active attacks, the product will check for vulnerabilities caused by poor set-up, such as access points that still have a known vendor default SSID. Its management features include the ability to configure multi vendor access points centrally, including settings such as name, IP address and SSID, radio settings such as channel, data rate and beacon period, and security settings such as WEP, WPA, WPA-PSK.

It includes pre-defined reports of activity, performance and security. For areas it doesn't cover, WiFi Manager works with other products including planning tools and wired management systems.