Browse Definitions:
Definition

WIPS (wireless intrusion prevention system)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) is a dedicated security device or integrated software application that monitors a wireless LAN network's radio spectrum for rogue access points and other wireless threats.

A WIPS compares the MAC addresses of all wireless access points on a network against the known signatures of pre-authorized, known wireless access points and alerts an administrator when a discrepancy is found. To circumvent MAC address spoofing, some higher-end WIPS are able to analyze the unique radio frequency signatures that wireless devices generate and block unknown radio fingerprints.

The PCI Security Standards Council recommends the use of WIPS to automate wireless network scanning. In addition to providing a layer of security for wireless LANS, WIPS are also useful for monitoring network performance and discovering access points with configuration errors.

There are three basic ways to deploy a WIPS. The first, primarily found at the lower-end of the market, is known as time slicing or time sharing. In this type of deployment, the wireless access point does double duty, providing network traffic with wireless connectivity while periodically scanning for rogue access points.

In the second approach, which is known as integrated WIPS, a sensor that is built into the authorized access point continually scans radio frequencies, looking for unauthorized access points.

In the third approach, which is known as WIPS overlay, sensors are deployed throughout a building to monitor radio frequencies. The sensors forward the data they collect to a centralized server for further analysis, action and log archiving. This approach is more expensive because it requires dedicated hardware, but it is also thought to be most effective.

WIPS overlay hardware resembles a rack server and the associated sensors resemble Wi-Fi access points. Most WIPS overlay systems share the same fundamental components:

Sensors -- monitor the radio spectrum and forward logs back to a central management server.


Management server -- receives information captured by the sensors and take appropriate defense actions based on this information.


Database server –- stores and organizes the information captured by the sensors.


Console -- provides an interface for administrators to set up and manage the WIPS.

While WIPS overlays provide many valuable features and protections, especially to large enterprises who capture customer data, they can be quite costly. With hardware, applications, subscriptions and training all factored in, an enterprise with 250 access points might spend as much as $100,000 on WIPS.

 

 

This was last updated in March 2015

Next Steps

Learn about wireless intrusion prevention system deployment types, purchasing options and types of threats prevented in this introduction to WIPS.

Considering purchasing a WIPS for your organization? Expert George V. Hulme reviews six reasons why enterprises benefit from implementing a wireless intrusion prevention system.

Criteria for choosing the right WIPS system.

Find out what the top wireless intrusion prevention systems are.

Continue Reading About WIPS (wireless intrusion prevention system)

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

    The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public ...

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

SearchSecurity

  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

    The Advanced Encryption Standard, or AES, is a symmetric block cipher used by the U.S. government to protect classified ...

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

  • spear phishing

    Spear phishing is an email-spoofing attack that targets a specific organization or individual, seeking unauthorized access to ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

SearchStorage

  • CIFS (Common Internet File System)

    CIFS (Common Internet File System) is a protocol that gained popularity around the year 2000, as vendors worked to establish an ...

  • GlusterFS (Gluster File System)

    GlusterFS (Gluster File System) is an open source distributed file system that can scale out in building-block fashion to store ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an OS that allows a computer to compensate for physical memory shortages by ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • Tier 0

    Tier 0 (tier zero) is a level of data storage that is faster, and perhaps more expensive, than any other level in the storage ...

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

  • SSD caching

    SSD caching, also known as flash caching, is the temporary storage of data on NAND flash memory chips in a solid-state drive so ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close