Wireless Systems Design

Broadband Wireless Security Grows Military-Level Muscle

The security of broadband wireless networks is on the minds of users, equipment OEMs, and service providers alike. Many organizations rely on high-speed IP/Ethernet data communications. They have adopted broadband wireless networking as a means of gaining bandwidth and lowering costs. As with wired networks, however, data on wireless networks must be safeguarded from unauthorized access or manipulation.

In these times of heightened national security, the integrity of government and military networks is even more critical. These networks demand the highest level of security. When fiber isn't an option, security-enhanced 802.16-based technology can be an effective alternative in delivering sensitive traffic.

Sometimes, two heads are better than one when it comes to solving difficult technical challenges. Two pairs of organizations are now taking their best shots at nailing down broadband wireless security. The first pair, CipherOptics, Inc. and TeraBeam Wireless, is collaborating to provide secure broadband wireless networking to government agencies and enterprises. CipherOptics' SG1001 IPSec appliance encrypts data at gigabit speed with wirespeed throughput and virtually no latency. It ensures that data in transit is protected without encryption bottlenecks.

The encryption from CipherOptics has been deemed a good match for TeraBeam Wireless's GigaLink line of point-to-point links. These links offer speeds of up to 1.42 Gbps. The combination will allow users to implement wireless infrastructures that have the ability to scale with their needs. At the same time, these networks will offer speed and high security. This approach is expected to gain some attention from the government agencies and enterprises that are looking to augment and complement their fiber-based networks. Both pieces of equipment have been lab-tested for compatibility. They integrate well for robust AES or 3DES encryption.

Meanwhile, Redline Communications and Fortress Technologies also are teaming to address highly secure long-range wireless connectivity for enterprise and military applications. Their approach combines Fortress' network-security products with Redline's line of 802.16-compliant equipment. This equipment offers non-line-of-sight capabilities and spectral efficiency (SEE FIGURE). The resulting secure WLAN implementation meets both the stringent Federal Information Processing Standards 140-2 (FIPS 140-2) and the U.S. Army's Wireless Best Business Practice (BBP) policies for military-grade encryption and authentication. In addition, it will allow users to establish highly secure links over long distances.

Redline and Fortress' WLAN approach is targeted at large-enterprise campuses, municipal-area networks, and military installations. Thanks to the interoperability between the two firms' technology, this WLAN implementation will serve the needs of military-level vertical as well as other enterprise and government organizations. The system is currently under evaluation at various levels of the military for base and tactical deployment for both fixed and mobile communications.

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