Here is good news on the security front: Unstrung's Dan Jones reports that Siemens has integrated its HiPath Wireless manager software with Microsoft's network access protection (NAP) code. Network administrators will thus be able to monitor users who join the network and enforce security policies. NAP is is a policy enforcement technology built into the the Windows Vista and Windows Server operating systems. It aims to offer better protection against laptop-borne viruses and similar disruptions. Jones writes that NAP will be available to the public with Beta 2 of Windows Vista, and to select customers with Beta 2 of the future version of Windows Server ("Longhorn").
Here is how NAP works: When a client tries to access the network or communicate on the network, it must "convince" the network that its (the client's) own state of system health is sound and provide proof of health compliance. If a client cannot prove it is compliant with system health requirements (say, that it has the latest operating system and antivirus updates installed), then NAP limits its access to the network or communication on the network to a restricted network containing server resources so that health compliance issues can be addressed, for example, by installing the required updates. After the updates are installed, the client again must request access to the network or permission to communicate on the network. If the client is determined to be compliant, the client is granted unlimited access to the network or the communication is allowed.
The move to integrate such protective measures into products (Cisco has done so as well) is relatively new, as such added protection was more often than not purchased as an add-on from a third party.
For more on HiPath Wireless manager
- see this Siemens document