Tuesday, April 5, 2005

WLAN Vendors Propose Secure Light Access Point Protocol (SLAPP)

Aruba Networks and Trapeze Networks submitted an IETF draft for a new protocol that simplifies the control and management of wireless LAN (WLAN) devices by centralized WLAN controllers. A new IETF Control and Provisioning of Wireless Access Points (CAPWAP) group has been chartered to define new interoperability mechanisms that make it easier to mix and match equipment from different suppliers.

The new Secure Light Access Point Protocol (SLAPP), submitted to the CAPWAP working group, is a simple discovery and authentication mechanism that operates independently of the underlying access technology. SLAPP can be used with various technologies, such as 802.11, 802.16 and RFID, to automatically interconnect devices of all types to a centralized control system.

Aruba Networks said one of the first uses of SLAPP will be providing easy interoperability between WLAN controllers and thin access points from different vendors. SLAPP can be used by access points of any kind to discover one or more controllers, perform a security association and negotiate an extension for control and provisioning functions. Using SLAPP, a device, such as an AP, first discovers one or more controllers through any one of a variety of existing standard protocols, such as DHCP, DNS or IP multicast. Once a controller has been discovered, the device performs a security association that includes mutual authentication. Upon completion of this process, the devices negotiate what control protocol will be used for subsequent inter-device communications.

The Internet Draft was co-authored by Partha Narasimhan at Aruba and Dan Harkins at Trapeze Networks. The draft is available online.


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