Scripting News has been talking about live blogging for a while new, so I thought I’d try it. I’m at a conference and Vernier Networks is presenting. I use wireless hubs myself, so my information could be wide open to capturing utilities (at least if I weren’t using encryption and secure servers). So here goes:

The presentation is on wireless network vulnerabilities. Wireless offers great flexibility and eliminates the need to wire, but vulnerabilities in wireless create new problems to overcome. The answer is strong encryption on wireless lans. the encryption needs to go in a place where is covers everyone connecting and where it’s easily configurable (manageable).
Wireless in schools needs to be provided to students (and teachers) in such a way that we can control it. More importantly, you need to be able to provide shool services (like online testing) while preventing unwanted uses( like personal emailing).

A good way to delineate the services you want to provide is to create a grid with services across the top and user categories down the side. Just check off the services that each group should have access to and you quickly have a good snapshot of your desired security configuration.

Once you decide who and what to control, you need to decide where to control it. This is a balancing act. The farther up (or farther away from the wireless access points toward the center of the network) the control is, the more it covers the general network and the easier it is to configure. The farther down (or toward the wireless access points) the control goes, the more control you have over what is accessed.

Vernier network boxes provide this control. A key feature of Vernier equipment is that no client configuration is needed–you don’t need to set up each computer for this controlled access. This control can be organized by class, instructor, time of day, day of week, etc. So a science class could be given wireless access to the network only during the school day–nights and weekends could be blocked so that students can’t try to hack into the network all night or weekend.

If a user roams from wireless hub to hub, proprietary systems can have difficulty providing coverage and service. Vernier supports standards-based software such as PPTP, IPSec, and others to provide seamless integration while stationary and roaming from network access point to access point. Redundancy is provided and in development to keep coverage and provide failover tolerance. Profiles can easily be set to cover one and two hour delays, half days, and virtually any scheduling combination of controlled access to the wireless network.

Vernier uses an OSI model Layer 3 approach versus the Layer 2 functions used by 802.3 and 802.11 protocols. The products thus handle higher level network security.