Meru unveils security gateway for wireless LANs

Meru Networks has unveiled a gateway appliance for wireless local-area networks designed to meet the security demands of government agencies.

The Meru SG1000 Security Gateway has been formally recommended for validation at Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 3, the highest security level sought by any WLAN vendor to date, company officials said.

Unlike FIPS 140-2 Level 2, which provides evidence of a breach after one has occurred and requires constant on-premises, crypto-officer supervision, Level 3 provides physical tamper-proof security mechanisms. These include a hard epoxy enclosure, as well as strong identity-based authentication, Meru officials said.

Upon certification, agencies will be able to ensure full FIPS 140-2 compliance of their wireless networks by adding an SG1000 to an existing deployment.

Many WLAN vendors implement FIPS security in their controller software. Meru's FIPS security resides in a distinct network appliance. As a result, users can upgrade their controller-based software whenever a new version becomes available without having to wait for revalidation of the controller.

The FIPS 140-2 standard has been developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Canada's Communications Security Establishment (CSE).

Currently in review by NIST, the SG1000 was recommended for validation under NIST procedures by InfoGard Laboratories, an independent, accredited IT security laboratory and accredited by NIST as a Cryptographic Module testing laboratory.

The SG1000 supports Advanced Encryption Standard 128, 192 and 256 encryption; a secure management interface; tamper-proof labels, and the IEEE 802.1x standard for port-based network access control with Extensible Authentication Protocol over LAN.

Also, the gateway meets Defense Department Directive 8100.2 for the use of commercial wireless devices, services and technologies in the DOD Global Information Grid.

The Meru SG1000 Security Gateway is available now. Pricing starts at $19,000. Because it resides behind the wireless LAN, one SG1000 typically can support a large network with multiple controllers.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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