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New Wi-Fi software separates data traffic from control traffic

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Ruckus Wireless has developed the Virtual SmartZone Data Plane, a virtual data plane for Wi-Fi that separates data traffic from control traffic on large wireless networks.

Carriers and enterprises will now have maximum flexibility in network deployments, installing multiple data flow managers across a distributed network to help optimise cost and performance based on user demands.

The new software – called Virtual SmartZone Data Plane (vSZ-D) – works with Ruckus’ Virtual SmartZone controllers, which provide a software-based system for managing wireless networks. Virtual SmartZone has built strong market momentum in just one year, with more than 700 customers in production networks – managing more than 200,000 access points. Virtual SmartZone is an early highlight in the industry’s network functions virtualization (NFV) movement, which encapsulates key network functions in software that can run on industry-standard hardware.

“Ruckus is once again leading the way in Wi-Fi innovation, making it easier for carriers and enterprises to virtualise and optimise their networks,” said Greg Beach, vice president of product management at Ruckus. “Separating control and data traffic delivers significant flexibility, cost and performance advantages for networks that support thousands of devices and access points.”

Virtual SmartZone Data Plane provides a flexible, cost-effective approach to aggregate and tunnel end-user data for specific application or security policy needs. Tunneling traditionally drives up cost and lowers performance, requiring expensive physical controllers to be replicated at each site – while increasing hardware and labour costs as the network grows. By contrast, vSZ-D distributes the workload across multiple, inexpensive systems – requiring only a single controller instance along with inexpensive vSZ-D deployments at remote sites. Data also moves faster because it can bypass the controller with only incremental impact on each site.

Functionally, the vSZ-D is manageable by the Virtual SmartZone controller, while enabling independent scaling of control and data planes. Multiple vSZ-D instances can be deployed at distributed sites – or an instance can be deployed centrally, helping to afford maximum network design flexibility. The NFV-based design eliminates deployment limitations due to physical computer hardware and geographic location. Virtual SmartZone controllers feature a tremendous level of flexibility: scaling up to 300,000 devices, offering single and multi-tenancy, and enabling “WiFi-as-you-grow” for networks to expand and adapt to the changing needs of their business. The SmartZone software platform supports all of Ruckus’ ZoneFlex indoor and outdoor wireless access points.

Key vSZ-D product features include:

·         Encrypted data tunneling: Provides flexible options for data tunneling from all types of Virtual LANs (VLANs), including guest traffic encryption; point of sale data tunneling for PCI compliance; VoIP traffic tunneling; and seamless roaming across Layer 2 subnets.

·         Dynamic data plane scaling: Provides scale and resiliency for large deployments supporting 1Gbps, 10Gbps or higher throughput – which can be dynamically tuned without needing software updates.

·         Cluster architecture: Provides scale and resiliency for large deployments supporting up to 30,000 access points and 300,000 devices. One Virtual SmartZone controller can manage up to two vSZ-D instances, and four-controller cluster can manage up to 8 vSZ-D instances.

·         Support for multiple hypervisors: Provides initial support for two of the industry’s most widely deployed virtualisation engines – VMware vSphere and KVM (OpenStack).

vSZ-D is immediately available as an extension to Ruckus’ existing Virtual SmartZone controllers – offered in a “high scale” version (vSZ-H) for carriers and large enterprises, and an “essentials” version (vSZ-E) for large and mid-size enterprises. Virtual SmartZone software extends the Smart Wi-Fi technology that has made Ruckus so popular, including proprietary breakthroughs such as BeamFlex+ adaptive antenna technology, ChannelFly predictive channel selection, SmartMesh self-optimised network meshing and Dynamic PSK Wi-Fi security – all of which help Ruckus deliver reliable, secure and scalable high-performance Wi-Fi for enterprise and service providers.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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