WLAN monitoring and protection, 24/7
- By John Breeden II
- Dec 13, 2013
Government has been cautious in its embrace of wireless network technology. Even today, with many advances in security, encryption and signal control, having always-on network access is still too much of a risk for some agencies. What is needed is constant monitoring of the wireless network. And that is just what Fluke Networks is trying to provide.
The AirMagnet Enterprise version 10 is like a detective that constantly examines a wireless network. It gives administrators all the advantages of Fluke's wired network health tools, including the ability to look for improperly configured access points. And it adds in a robust suite of security software, including the ability to detect and respond to wireless intrusions in real time, without the need for human intervention.
The AirMagnet Enterprise scans all possible 802.11 channels, including the 200 extended channels, ensuring there are no blind spots where rogue devices can hide. Any devices that try to pop up on a wireless network, even those using nonstandard channels, are immediately detected and blocked. The AirMagnet also looks into the spectrum used by Bluetooth devices and most non-802.11 transmitter types, such as those used by wireless cameras. AirMagnet would prevent those hidden cameras from operating within an agency's network. Finally, the AirMagnet can detect if a wireless jamming or denial-of-service attack is under way and can lead investigators directly to the rogue device that is the source of the problem.
Should an attack occur, or should a nonauthorized wireless device try to log onto a protected network, administrators are immediately notified and can access a suite of tools remotely through the AirMagnet device. Because AirMagnet supports overlaying floor plans with its sensors, investigators can see exactly where the breach is occurring on any floor. And, because AirMagnet can take corrective action based on policies, it can thwart an attack even if a human isn't available.
After an attack or breach, the AirMagnet Enterprise can help with an investigation because it captures a complete packet or radio frequency forensic record of any network event, allowing appropriate staff to investigate the issue in depth, at any time.
Finally, in addition to actual attacks, AirMagnet can help to find the normal interference that can slow a network down. It constantly scans for radio frequency interference on the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz Wi-Fi-bands and classifies interference from sources like cordless phones and microwave ovens. That way, if wireless network throughput is a primary concern, those seemingly innocuous devices that are interfering with performance can be moved somewhere else, or removed from the area entirely.
John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.