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Interop Feature Articles

May 12, 2009
Aerohive Networks Unveils Private Pre-Shared Key Solution

Aerohive Networks has unveiled its new patent-pending encryption and authentication solution, the so-called Private Pre-Shared Key (Private PSK) solution.

According to the company, this innovative solution helps guest, legacy and hard-to-manage wireless LAN clients to utilize strong encryption and authentication without the cost and complexity of WPA/WPA2 Enterprise (802.1X), or where 802.1X is not technically feasible.

It is built to provide better Wi-Fi security and management than the inadequate WPA/WPA2 Personal (PSK) framework while leveraging existing client investments and reducing operational costs.

The Private PSK feature set which is currently available in the market comes with latest latest HiveOS 3.3, HiveManager 3.3, and GuestManager 1.1 software.

“Today, 802.1X is regarded as the gold standard for Wi-Fi security and authentication," said David Flynn, chief executive officer, Aerohive (News - Alert).

He added that, "Unfortunately, the wholesale migration to 802.1X is inhibited by the cost of upgrading legacy clients, the deployment complexity of 802.1X, and the inability of guest networks to work with it. We expect enterprises to use 802.1X where they can and Private PSK everywhere else, dramatically improving Wi-Fi security and manageability while reducing wireless LAN deployment and operating costs."

Private PSK system is also helpful in generating and managing separate pre-shared keys for every client, which enables multiple users, each with a unique key, to access the same SSID, providing one-to-one authentication and strong encryption. This helps in providing network access on a per-client basis.

Private PSK also enables the implementation of user-based policies. This is a significant advantage over traditional PSK, which can provide only SSID-based policy because all users share the same pre-shared key.

"Today's enterprises recognize the critical need for strong encryption and authentication in their wireless networks, but they often find it impractical or even impossible to implement 802.1X, particularly with guest, legacy, and hard-to-manage wireless LAN clients," said Paul DeBeasi, senior analyst, Burton Group. "It's good to see a vendor like Aerohive tackle this important issue."

BlackBerrys and Nokia (News - Alert) S60 phones can now avoid time-consuming certificate configuration required for secure deployment with secure authenticated guest access, without requiring a captive Web portal,  that is easily revoked and does not allow eavesdropping.

The company plans to showcase Private PSK and its recently announced Dynamic Airtime Scheduling next week at Interop Las Vegas.

Jyothi Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Jyothi's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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