Have you been tasked with deploying a wireless LAN (WLAN) infrastructure at your company? Are employees and co-workers clamoring for wireless access but unable to get manager approval "because it is not secure and our data is too valuable?" You've probably done some research and might be looking at products from WLAN vendors such as Cisco® Systems, Aruba Networks®, Trapeze Networks, Symbol Technologies, or others. While these WLAN vendors offer valuable products, you might not need their solution if you already have an SSL VPN device or appliance in place, or are planning to implement one (perhaps to replace your IPSec VPN).
For most deployment scenarios, an SSL VPN appliance can provide many of the features and benefits of a special purpose WLAN controller for wireless access, but at a much lower cost and with greater flexibility. The basic premise is very simple: treat your wireless LAN (for example, 802.11g) users the same as you would treat a remote user accessing your network from home or a coffee shop. In other words, from an implementation and policy perspective, treat remote users and corporate wireless users exactly the same. This is also helpful for the end user because their user experience will be exactly the same whether they are accessing the network from home or over the corporate wireless network. They will not have to launch a separate client for wireless access or go to a different URL or portal.
So how does an SSL VPN solution for WLAN access compare to what a WLAN vendor might offer? This paper describes the key selling points for WLAN solutions and offers an explanation of how SSL VPN can offer similar, complementary, or greater functionality.