New software authorizes user network entry

Meetinghouse Data Communications, Inc. announced this week the availability of its 802.1X authentication software for Windows NT/2000. It promises to secure local area network (LAN) end-user access via encryption technology.

Meetinghouse Data Communications, Inc. announced this week the availability of its 802.1X authentication software for Windows NT/2000, which promises to secure local area network (LAN) end-user access via encryption technology.

With LANs already an office norm, IT administrators are increasingly uneasy about the ease in which anyone can gain access, according to Dr. Paul Goransson, Meetinghouse's president and founder. Whether or not a LAN-enabled laptop is an authorized to use a specific network, unauthorized users can simply plug into Ethernet switches and gain access, he said. The 802.1X LAN authentication protocol enables dynamic key encryption and stops unauthorized users from logging onto networks that are not their own, Goransson said.

Meetinghouse's 802.1X software, which was developed by Meetinghouse and Hewlett-Packard, Co. of Palo Alto, Calif., runs in three areas of the network: the RADIUS server, the Windows PC, and the wireless access point or Ethernet switch, said Goransson. It is a client-side software that communicates with an organization's Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) server. RADIUS is a client/server protocol and software that enables remote access servers to communicate with a central server to authenticate dial-in users and keep user profiles in a central database (Whatis.com).

When installed on a Windows PC in a wireless network, the PC is allowed to authenticate users to a network at the wireless access point. For wired networks, authentication occurs at the Ethernet switch.

Users running Windows 95,98 or 2000 can use the 802.1X software. "If an IT manager has a network base where a migration to XP is not in the plans, and they want a security solution, we're the answer," Goransson said. Windows XP has the software already included, he said.

Portsmouth, NH-based Meetinghouse's 802.1X authentication software works in Linux OS environments as well as mixed Windows/Linux environments. The software is highly scalable, working for small and large organizations, according to Goransson.

Individual 802.1X software licenses are $39.99. Volume discounts are available and depend on platform and configuration. Licenses are sold only through Meetinghouse.

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