Siemens expands software for wireless LANs

Siemens Communications Inc. Monday plans to announce software designed to let corporate users manage thousands of wireless LAN access points from a single console, as well as a partner program aimed at easing the integration of third-party mobile services with business applications.

The new HiPath Wireless Manager software is the core management technology underpinning a line of WLAN offerings that Siemens Communications sells under the HiPath name. In addition to the third-party links, HiPath Wireless Manager can be extended via a pair of Advanced Services modules -- one that provides wireless intrusion-prevention capabilities, and another that generates reports on the regulatory compliance of wireless networks.

Michael Dye, director of information systems at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, said the school's 6,200 students have been able to use a campus Wi-Fi network based on 60 Siemens access points for the past five months. The university has been using an early version of the HiPath Wireless Manager since the Wi-Fi network was installed. Midwestern State also took part in a forerunner of the partner program to help the school integrate security products from Fortinet Inc. with HiPath Wireless Manager for use on its network, Dye said.

In addition to the existing Wi-Fi network for students, the new software will help the school manage a separate one for faculty and staff that is due to come online sometime next year. "That way, nary the two networks should meet," Dye said, although he noted that his staff will be able to manage both from a central location.

Steven Snider, president of Cadre Information Security, a Cincinnati-based reseller and systems integrator that is a Siemens business partner on security, said HiPath Wireless Manager will be able to monitor networks that serve dual-mode phone users who combine cellular and Wi-Fi calls. "In the past, you've had departmental or buildingwide Wi-Fi, but very few solutions could look at the entire wireless management," Snider said. "In that sense, Wireless Manager makes wireless with security ready for prime time."

HiPath Wireless Manager is available now, starting at US$1,500 for a license that supports a single server and up to 200 access points.