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WiMAX security gaps bring revenue opportunities

Posted: 08 Jan 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:WiMAX? Wi-Fi? wireless technology? wireless apps? WiMAX apps?

This year will see a number of mobile WiMAX deployments. However, profit will not only come from these deployments as addressing the security vulnerabilities of WiMAX technology will create revenue opportunities for security solutions vendors, reported ABI Research.

"They say that if you don't learn from the past, you are doomed to repeat it," said Stan Schatt, ABI Research vice president. "Early Wi-Fi consumers enjoyed a false sense of security until there were some well-publicized hacking exploits. The WiMAX Forum has emphasized how much more secure WiMAX is than early Wi-Fi. As a result, there may be WiMAX customers who are similarly lulled into a false sense of security." The flaws, he added, will show themselves once the first big WiMAX rollouts occur.

According to ABI Research, gaps in WiMAX security are grouped into three: user terminals, intrusion detection, and connectivity service networks. User terminals need encryption acceleration to handle AES processing demands. At the edge of WiMAX networks, access service networks offer a suitable place for vendors to add intrusion detection and protection software and hardware. Moreover, connectivity service networks, as part of carrier back offices, will require stateful firewall software or robust firewall appliances, as well as additional RADIUS servers to handle the extra load imposed by roaming clients on WiMAX authentication.

With the exception of corporations such as Motorola, Nortel and Alcatel, few WiMAX vendors have the internal expertise to fill all of these gaps. This opens the field for a number of smaller specialized developers to create and supply solutions, according to ABI Research.

"To some extent, WiMAX security specialists will attempt to sell solutions directly to end-users," said Schatt, "but the lesson learned from Wi-Fi is that these products are most attractive to customers when tightly integrated. So most WiMAX security solutions will be offered through partnerships with WiMAX equipment vendors."

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