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Security sol'ns target smart mobile devices

Posted: 25 Aug 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wi-fi  flexconnect  mobile device security  authentication 

Ruckus Wireless debuts FlexConnect, a collection of patented solutions that help corporations deal with the barrage of new Wi-Fi-enabled devices hitting enterprise networks, by automatically provisioning the security of a range of smart mobile devices.

The company also detailed future plans to support the automatic identification and classification (so called device fingerprinting) of smart mobile devices, opening the door to device-specific policy enforcement, visibility, management and self-registration.

Providing easy and secure Wi-Fi access to users bringing their smart devices to enterprise and carrier networks has become a major issue for network IT staff. The traditional 802.1X/EAP enterprise security is secure but very configuration intensive for both the IT staff and end user.

FlexConnect leverages patented Ruckus Zero IT, Dynamic PSK (pre-shared key) and SpeedFlex technologies to eliminate tedious user complexity while simplifying the administration and troubleshooting of Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones and tablet devices. Zero IT provides device provisioning for configuration parameters while Dynamic PSK automates the creation of per-user encryption keys that can be distributed using the Zero IT framework.

With FlexConnect, IT staff can automatically provision wireless device settings (such as SSIDs and unique pre-shared keys) on mobile devices while also provisioning other wireless authentication and security parameters (such as 802.1X supplicants and certificates).

Flexible and Secure Connectivity for Smart Mobile Devices
Instead of manually configuring individual devices with encryption keys, 802.1X supplicants and wireless configuration information, Dynamic PSK automates and centralises this process within the network. Once enabled for the entire system through a simple check box within the ZoneDirector WLAN controller, a new user connects to the wireless network through a provisioning SSID and authenticates via a captive portal. This information is checked against any standard back-end authentication system such as Active Directory, RADIUS or an internal user database on the ZoneDirector.

Once authenticated, a unique encryption key is generated for each user. Zero IT then pushes a configuration applet with the unique user key and other Wi-Fi configuration information to each device. This applet configures the user's device without human intervention. Once associated to the requisite WLAN, the Dynamic PSK (with a configurable lifetime) is bound to the user and the end device. Ruckus Dynamic PSK and Zero IT facilities are supported across a wide range of smart devices including Apple iPads, iPhones, Android OS, Windows Mobile, and Windows CE platforms.

FlexConnect also provides the ability to better remotely troubleshoot wireless-only handheld smart devices through SpeedFlex. SpeedFlex is a custom performance test tool that generates uplink and downlink throughput capacity and packet loss test results for each client device. This testing can also be performed for each hop within a multi-hop mesh node network.

SpeedFlex allows administrators to easily measure the Wi-Fi throughput of associated WLAN devices and quickly identify and isolate network bottlenecks. With SpeedFlex, administrators can plan, troubleshoot, monitor and measure WLAN performance, eliminating the need for Internet-based measurement tools or costly performance tools that often provide accurate results of the local Wi-Fi environment. From any centralised ZoneDirector WLAN system, administrators remotely invoke a speed test for a specific user thereby isolating client issues. SpeedFlex differs from existing test tools because it was developed specifically for Wi-Fi and focuses on characterising performance at the wireless link layer.

FlexConnect is supported in all ZoneFlex products running Smart/OS 9.1 and higher.

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