Strengths: A good 802.1x middleware package to allow WAPs and switches to authenticate back-end servers
Weaknesses: Limited functionality, high price for the feature set
Verdict: A smaller, less expensive version for small organisations would fill a gap in the 802.1x authentication market
The idEngines Ignition product provides middleware for 802.1x authentication. It creates an environment where wireless access points, switches and firewalls can authenticate to the Ignition application, which then relays the 802.1x authentication request to the correct back-end authentication server.
The Ignition application provides single sign-on to all applications that can use 802.1x as the authentication mechanism. The product runs on a dedicated hardware appliance that is rack-mountable.
The device is easy to install, from the initial setup of the hardware appliance through the front interface to the proprietary dashboard application that is used to configure the remainder of the application. The installation process is straightforward, especially for anyone who has ever deployed 802.1x authentication within an organisation.
Once the Ignition system is up and running, adding additional switches or access points is a breeze. In fact, it is so easy that we added several devices here at the lab just because we could.
Documentation for this product comes in the form of several printed booklets, as well as PDF files. The getting-started guide and configuration manual are both very well done and provide the user with just about everything that is needed to install and perform the configuration of the Ignition system. The printed manuals were very easy to read and succinct. The information in the manuals included step-by-step procedures for most tasks.
As far as support is concerned, idEngines provides assistance though all common methods, including email, phone and self-support through the company website. A unique support option, self-help with online tracking, is available to registered users.
Priced towards the middle of products we tested, this appliance is definitely targeted at larger enterprises. More important, however, is the fact that it has limited functionality, which means that the expense may be difficult to justify except in sensitive applications.
An example, and the obvious target market for this product, is wireless access to sensitive servers. While it is never good security to bypass controls in these cases, business needs often dictate access that requires extra protection to be viable. The Ignition tool from idEngines can be used for such additional protection.