Bluesocket BSC 2100
Strengths: Rules-based wireless access; integrates with existing authentication servers.
Weaknesses: Need to set up IPsec VPNs for full security.
Verdict: Excellent, well thought-out wireless LAN protection that integrates with your existing security; provides all the security your network needs.
The BSC 2100 is one of the most advanced products around. One of its key strengths is that Bluesocket realises that wireless networks should integrate with existing networks with as little hassle as possible.
To that end, setting the device is very simple: the management port connects to a switch that all of your wireless access points connect to; the protected port connects to your existing network; and the BSC 2100 takes care of the security between the two.
Bluesocket sells its own “thin access points” that only provide 802.11a/b/g access, leaving security and management to the BlueSecure Controllers, but any standard wireless access point can be used.
Management is all done through Bluesocket’s excellent web interface. The login page automatically detects all your wireless access points; it’s here that you realise just what a powerful product it is. One of the BSC2100’s main jobs is to properly authenticate wireless users and you’re not short of options. First, it can force web redirects to its front page, where users can type in their credentials. These are then matched against either the internal users or an external source including RADIUS, LDAP/AD and Windows NTLM servers.
Once authenticated, a user is assigned a role, which defines the services they can use. You can even define if they have to use a VPN for security. With this system, you can force security for those that need it, while allowing guests access to the internet, all from the same access points.
The BSC 2100 will integrate with Windows NTLM transparently, so users logging onto the network are authenticated automatically. Best of all, you can match user fields and assign roles automatically. It is very powerful and easy to use.
The BSC 2100 doesn’t just offer excellent authentication options, it also adds extra features to your network. One of the best is being able to roam IPsec VPNs.
Normally, as a user moves from one access point to another the VPN will be terminated, but the BSC 2100 handles it seamlessly.
Finally, if you have multiple Bluesecure gateways, you can buy the BlueView management console to add centralised management.
This is a powerful product that provides excellent protection for wired and wireless networks alike.