Computer Associates has launched a wireless LAN management tool designed to help IT managers set up access privileges and identify rogue devices. The Wireless Site Management 4.0 software uses Global Positioning System technology to help pinpoint all of the wireless devices installed on Wi-Fi networks.
The company released a beta version of Wireless Site Management last May and said it expected to ship the finished product within three to six months. CA claimed that the software could also monitor Wi-Fi networks for performance problems and security vulnerabilities. In addition, IT managers can use the new tool to provision end-user devices and restrict access to networks at certain times of the day.
CA's move is an attempt to bolster its one-stop shop approach. Its current wireless management products are felt by analysts to lag behind those of specialist providers (see our feature), leaving users to patch together multi-vendor systems instead.
One user, Jeff McGee, CIO at Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana, said he tested the new software for five months and found that it helped him identify and locate hackers who were using unauthorised systems on the school's WLAN. "I can actually walk up to (a rogue user) and say, 'cease and desist,'" McGee said.
The school is about to occupy a new unified campus that will bring together five existing locations. McGee said that about 6,000 students could be connected via Wi-Fi links within the next 12 months, making software such as Wireless Site Management important for controlling use of the WLAN.
"We have a need for something like this because we actually teach hacking at this school," he noted. "The best thing about this product is that it's a hacker's worst nightmare." McGee plans to deploy the commercial release of the software as soon as possible.
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