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Monday, July 17, 2006

Network Access Heats Up With 802.1x Funk

Nine months after it acquired Funk Software for $122 million, Juniper Networks (Quote, Chart) is rolling out network access control (NAC) security products based on Funk’s technology.  OAC is an 802.1x supplicant, which is defined a piece of software that provides access to an 802.1x- enabled network.  Oliver Tavakoli, vice president of engineering at Juniper (and the former CTO of Funk Software), explained that 802.1x helps a network figure out at a port-by-port level who is accessing the network and what kind of access to allow.

Juniper’s latest release hits the market as its chief rival, Cisco Systems (Quote, Chart) ramps up its own technology and acquisitions in the increasingly competitive 802.1x and network access control space.
The 802.1x protocol is widely considered the standard in the nascent network access control market. 

Both SteelBelt Radius and OAC were available prior to Juniper’s Funk acquisition but have been upgraded.

Earlier this month, Cisco helped itself to a new 802.1x supplicant with the acquisition of Meetinghouse Data Communications for $43.7 million, which is seen as filling out its NAC product lines.

“We know we want the standalone market and we’re going squarely after the endpoint integrity market,” Tavakoli said.  “And if we ultimately lose some business because we’re not going to go out of our way to add proprietary features to Radius and Odyssey that basically support proprietary architectures by Cisco, so be it,” he said.

Cisco’s NAC and 802.1x efforts aren’t the only potential competition that Juniper faces in this space.

“We are confident in the feature gap between what will ship in Vista and what we have in Odyssey Access Client and that we will continue to be head and shoulders above.

Posted on 07/17