New Product/Technology Roundup
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Not everyone can make it to shows like Networld+Interop and Comdex 2002 in Atlanta or the Intel Developer's Conference in San Jose. If you're curious what WLAN technology has been announced there, here's some of the week's news in brief.
Fortress Technologies has released the $6495 AF6500 wireless security gateway, part of the company's AirFortress family of products for device and user authentication. The product implements security at OSI Layer 2, decreasing hacking opportunities, and uses wireless Link Layer Security (wLLS) and AES encryption. Secure client software is available for various flavors of Windows (even CE and PocketPC) plus DOS and Palm OS.
ReefEdge Connect System 3.0 is the latest security/management solution from the company of the same name. It now supports NetLink Wireless Telephones from SpectraLink using the ReefEdge Mobile Domain architecture to mange wireless telephony as well as the rest of the wireless data network. It uses "Mobile Masquerading" so the phones work with any access point, even those on a different subnet.
ReefEdge has also announced the formation of a WLAN Security Interoperability Program to certify third party identification, authentication, IPsec encryption and other products for integration with ReefEdge systems. RSA Security, Interlink Networks, Funk Software, Certicom, and SSH Communications Security have all signed on so far.
Anyone looking to analyze a wireless network based on 802.11a now has some help -- WildPackets has released upgrades to AiroPeek ($1495) and AiroPeek NX ($3495) to support 11a, as well as VoIP, 152-bit WEP, and packet decoding options such as EAP.
Finisar Corporation's Surveyor Wireless Version 1.1 may be what you need to track down rogue access points and MAC stations before (or after) you launch an office WLAN. The tool works on a Windows 2000/XP system on networks from Cisco, Symbol, ORiNOCO, 3Com, and others, analyzing packets and traffic from the radio frequency signal (PHY) layer to the application layer. It features multi-channel analysis and real-time monitoring alarms so you'll know when the rogue goes live.
Intel has released new information about its upcoming mobile PC platform, codenamed Banias, that will incorporate 802.11a/b dual-band wireless in the microarchitecture. The chip is geared toward low energy, light weight and, obviously, wireless connectivity. The wireless throughput speed it will support is 54Mbps and 11Mbps -- no turbo modes. A software utility called PROSet will let users plug into a high-speed wired network and maintain the connection they had while wireless, without needing to restart. Banias will also include technology from Silicon Wave to improve simultaneous use of 802.11b and Bluetooth 1.1, since they both share the 2.4GHz band. Products running on Banias will not ship until 2003.
Broadcom announced that its AirForce BCM4702 Network Processor integrated circuit (IC) will support 802.11a, 802.11b and a/b combos, as well as 802.11g when available. The chip's reference design (BCM94702AP) for access points uses Broadcom's AirForce OneDriver software to support the multiple standards on one driver (thus the name).
ParkerVision's Direct2Data Division announced 802.11a/b/g-based PV-2000 basband/MAC chips that will bring dual-band/dual-mode support. They'll work along with D2D's existing PV-1000 line of transmitter/receivers. The PV-2000 won't be available until the second half of 2003, however, but customer sampling should begin in a few months.
Maxim Integrated Products introduced what is says is the industry's smallest Silicon Germanium (SiGe)-based power amplifier (PA) chip designed for 802.11b. The MAX2247 PA is only 1.5mm x 2mm in size, making it just right for use in client cards for miniPCI, Compact Flash, or SD cards. It operates over a 2.7V to 4.2V supply range and has an on-chip shutdown feature to reduce current as needed. A full reference design evaluation kit is available to potential customers.
Symbol wants to turn enterprise WLAN installs around by taking away access points and replacing them with stripped down access "ports" that would be centrally managed by another piece of switching hardware. The line of products, called Mobius Axon, should be available in November. You can read more details about them here.
If you want to surf wirelessly on your next flight, you may be in luck: Miltope Group has released the Wireless Access Service Point (WASP) for installation in aircraft. It can be an access point for the cabin or provide a ground link, and a 300 foot range of 802.11b connectivity for passengers and crew. It also has two 10/100 Ethernet ports, which can be used to daisy chain multiple WASPs to increase coverage if needed. The built in VPN server gives each client a secure connection, plus it supports WEP, SSL, and authentication via IPSec, PPTP, or L2TP.
D-Link has new firmware and software available for the networkable DCS-1000 Internet Camera and the D-LinkAir DCS-1000W Wireless Internet Camera. The firmware upgrade adds support for FTP of still images, and the software (IPView Software Version 2.0) will now record one or more video streams from cameras as AVI files. The upgrades are free and can be found at the company's support Web site.