Aruba proposes alternative to using IPSec for remote access security

For years, there have been two traditional methods for secure remote access: IPSec and SSL VPNs. Both have been discussed in this newsletter over the years, and each has its definite strengths and weaknesses. Now, wireless LAN provider Aruba has proposed an alternative to using IPSec on the client computer that we find innovative.

Aruba proposes that telecommuters and road warriors consider deploying Aruba’s special remote-access point (RAP) software on the company’s APs and using the Aruba APs from home or hotel rooms. The APs — rather than your client device - communicate with Aruba’s centralized controller in your data center over an IPSec tunnel. This precludes the user from having to mess with passwords, PINs and IPSec key fobs.

The only requirement is that the remote AP has wired Internet connectivity.

This approach certainly seems to us to have some appeal. But we also turned to our colleague, Joanie Wexler, author of Network World’s Wireless in the Enterprise newsletter, for her take. Joanie said, “This could be easier for home users who have to log in to the VPN repeatedly every day and for road warriors who would like to use multiple wireless devices from a single hotel-room Internet connection.”

If you would like to take a closer look at this solution, a white paper with an extensive explanation is available here. And while you’re at the Webtorials site, you might also want to take a look at a paper on next-generation access, the Kubernan State-of-the-Market report on Mobile WiMAX.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on the Aruba approach. Let us hear from you, and we’ll be happy to share the feedback.

Steve Taylor is president of Distributed Networking Associates and publisher/editor-in-chief of Webtorials. For more detailed information on most of the topics discussed in this newsletter, connect to Webtorials, the premier site for Web-based educational presentations, white papers, and market research. Taylor can be reached at

Jim Metzler is the Vice President of Ashton, Metzler & Associates, a consulting organization that focuses on leveraging technology for business success. Jim assists vendors to refine product strategies, service providers to deploy technologies and services, and enterprises evolve their network infrastructure.
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