Interlink's Lucid Solution Delivers Secure WLAN

While that may seem like a good thing, there is a dark side. Many of those WLAN solutions, especially in the small-office environment, are unsecured, leaving networks open to intrusion from outsiders—a major concern for any small office bound by legislation and concerned about liability.

Take, for example, the typical doctor's office or small brokerage firm. Those businesses have to meet legislated privacy requirements and are potential targets for liability lawsuits.

Many wireless networks are unsecured simply because the installer did not set up the network as secure, while others are unprotected because of the challenges of properly securing them.

Interlink Networks can help solve many of the security-related problems. The company's LucidLink software product takes the complexity out of security for small wireless networks, while still providing enterprise-level protection.

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Solution providers will find that LucidLink offers point-and-click simplicity for securing small WLANs, living up to its claims of ease of installation and ease of use.

LucidLink is installed on a Windows 2000, 2003 or XP system acting as a network server. Installers then must run the setup wizard. When it comes to wireless access points, installers will need to select units that support 802.1X/EAP or WPA-RADIUS to create an integrated secure environment. WPA-RADIUS access points offer the most security, while 802.1X/EAP, which uses WEP encryption, offers the greatest compatibility with both legacy and new Wi-Fi products.

Once the server portion of the software is installed, configuring an access point is a snap. Administrators simply select the "Set up access point" option and then choose the appropriate access point from a pull-down list featuring most major products. The only other information needed is the IP address of the access point and a password selected by the installer. LucidLink handles all the programming and setup chores associated with securing an access point.

Solution providers should be able to set up a secure wireless network in less than 15 minutes using LucidLink. The product uses an association-type method to allow users access to the WLAN. An administrator has to set up a user account for each intended user, and when that user connects for the first time, he or she is offered an authorization code that the administrator then uses to turn on access to the WLAN. That method prevents "man-in-the-middle" attacks, during which an unauthorized user attempts to intercept traffic and pose as the legitimate user.

Administrators have complete control over accounts, ranging from disabling accounts to setting time limits. For example, an administrator can set up a temporary account for a visitor that automatically expires after a predetermined amount of time. That functionality offers support for guests, auditors, business partners, contractors or other occasional users.

The simplicity built around the browser-based management console brings additional benefits to the product. LucidLink proves so easy to use that even nontechnical office staffers can manage wireless access, which can improve efficiency and reduce costs.

CRN Test Center engineers found that LucidLink is one of the better ways to secure small WLANs, combining rock-solid security with ease of use. The product eliminates any excuses for not securing a WLAN.

At just $99 for a three-user version, the product is inexpensive enough for even the most frugal of small offices. When compared against the value of the data floating around on unsecured airwaves, purchasing the product becomes a no-brainer. LucidLink scales up to 50 users for $1,595, and Interlink Networks offers various tech-support plans to handle end-user needs and provide free product upgrades. Support plans range in price from $150 yearly for 10 users to $495 for 50 users.


COMPANY: Interlink Networks
Ann Arbor, Mich.
DISTRIBUTORS: Direct from vendor
PRICE: $99 (for 3 users)