Interlink Networks Inc. and Trapeze Networks Inc. will work together to help large enterprises get over the hurdle of 802.11 wireless LAN (WLAN) deployment.

Interlink - a network security and access control software developer - will provide user management, while WLAN systems provider Trapeze will take care of the physical network, according to Randy Dence, vice-president of marketing and product management at Michigan-based Interlink.

Trapeze takes care of the wireless LAN, including access points and their deployment and manageability (see review) while Interlink supplies the management of the users, Dence explained. "So now, you bring that together and you have both user management and network management and that's pretty much the whole pie."

Control of who has access and who does not is done through Interlink's standards-based RADIUS (remote authentication dial-in user service) product.

Security is a major roadblock still preventing many large enterprises from deploying wireless capabilities within their organizations, said Dence. He added, however, that with the development of the Wi-Fi Alliance - a non-profit international association formed in 1999 to certify interoperability of WLAN products based on IEEE 802.11 specification - companies have no reason for such concerns.

Dence added that "the industry is blessed" with standards that have come out of the alliance including Wi-Fi protected access (WPA), a security protocol for 802.11 wireless networks, which uses authentication based on RADIUS or other user techniques providing strong 802.1x authentication.

Trapeze is planning to use its Wireless LAN Mobility System, which it introduced earlier this year, to hold up its end of the partnership. The system works by integrating wired with wireless, thus allowing businesses to treat the WLAN as an independent, parallel, add-on infrastructure with its own unique set of problems and costs, according to the California-based company. Trapeze's system will add an additional layer of WLAN security and management to Interlink's RADIUS-based software, said Interlink.

Although intrusion attempts can be effectively detected and blocked, the technologies to do this are still very new and confusing to many companies, said Warren Wilson, a practice director at Summit Strategies in Seattle. Wireless security is still an area where there are regular issues. Another concern for enterprises is the fact that they are easily lost or stolen, "making the information on them highly vulnerable."

"Solutions and best practices are still evolving, so customers face a lot of confusion and it is indeed inhibiting adoption," he said.