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Check Point to switch on wireless security

Gets set to debut a version of its VPN and firewall appliance for networks that allow wireless connections.

Check Point Software Technologies is expected to announce on Monday that it will begin selling wireless security appliances, as it looks beyond the tethered firewall and VPN market.

Check Point will debut its VPN-1 Edge W series, which are versions of its existing virtual private network-firewall security devices tailored to wireless connections. The move comes as corporate demand grows for such features and as competitors deliver their own wireless security lines.

"This is a natural extension of our firewall and VPN business," said Dave Burton, product marketing director at Check Point. Burton noted that customers want wireless connectivity for their remote offices and also a secure and central means to handle data and information across a variety of devices.

Check Point's wireless VPN-firewall appliance will support 802.11b/g/Super G wireless standards at speeds of up to 108mbps and wireless coverage of up to 300 meters indoors.

"With 300 meters, a customer needs to deploy fewer access points in their environment, and so that's a cost savings," Burton said.

Industry analysts said that a number of providers, such as Juniper Networks' NetScreen Technologies and Symantec, are selling wireless firewall-VPN devices.

"What Check Point is doing is not revolutionary...They're just trying to remain competitive in their space," said Steven Hunt, president of 4H International, a strategic consulting firm for physical and IT security.

Check Point's Burton, however, said that while it is not the first to sell wireless security appliances, the company's devices, unlike others, offer customers the ability to manage and set policy for thousands of devices from one central location.

The VPN-1 Edge W series will come in four different configurations. It has a starting price of $799 per eight concurrent users, rising to $2,199 for unlimited concurrent users.