Products of the Year 2007:

Wireless security

Gold Award:

Cisco Wireless LAN Security Solution for Large Enterprise

Cisco Wireless LAN Security Solution for Large Enterprise

Cisco Systems is known as a networking giant because of its dominance in the enterprise networking equipment market. However, it may soon be known as the wireless security giant as well.

That's because it dominated the wireless security category in our annual reader survey, courtesy of its Cisco Wireless LAN Security Solution for Large Enterprise, formerly known as Wireless Security Suite. The name refers to a comprehensive set of wireless network security features in its wireless access points, switches, routers, appliances and client devices, which Cisco has combined in order to convince many of its longtime wired customers to relinquish their wireless security fears and implement over-the-air network infrastructures.

"The solution takes an integrated approach to delivering unified wired and wireless IPS/IDS, wireless device posture assessment and remediation, wireless host intrusion prevention and policy, and a comprehensive management framework for analysis and reporting," says Chris Kozup, manager of mobility solutions at Cisco. "The Cisco Wireless Security Solution is comprised of the Cisco Unified Wireless Network, the Cisco NAC Appliance, the Cisco ASA Firewall with IPS, the Cisco Security Agent and an integrated authentication framework using the Cisco Secure ACS RADIUS server and the Cisco Secure Services Client."

At the top of its feature list is support for the 802.11i WiFi security standard, which shored up weaknesses in earlier standards largely through the use of the stringent Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) or Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) methods of wireless data encryption. Its 802.11i support also includes reliance on 802.1X-based mutual authentication and dynamic encryption key management, aiming to ease the administrative struggles that often come with static encryption keys.

As is often the case with Cisco gear, perhaps the product's most impressive feature is its integration with other Cisco technologies, such as its wireless mesh networking capabilities for securing access point-centric outdoor networks, integration with Cisco's Self-Defending Network threat mitigation offerings and the Network Admission Control endpoint security technologies.

Readers gave the product high marks for quality and ROI; Cisco support was also lauded.

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