RealTime IT News

Wireless Web Server

You've got a presentation to give, with collateral materials including slides, some software downloads, and a few HTML or Acrobat -based pages of extra data. So how do you make sure everyone in the audience can get the info on their laptop? Via the wireless Web, of course. However, if you or the show organizers don't have the time or the skills to set up a wireless access point as a front end to the Web server, IR Data Corp. might have a solution.

This week at the 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo in Santa Clara, CA, this week, IR Data Corporation of Irvine, CA, will be announcing and showing its Wireless Zone product, a Linux box running the Apache Web server. The Wireless Zone comes with built in 802.11b so that all wireless devices within range can log into the Web site installed on the product's hard drive.

"Where we see this being used is sales presentations, product demos, giving small venue people who want to demo or give a presentation a chance, " says Doug Bradford, president of IR Data. "You can download a PowerPoint presentation or a PDF file... It works just like any other Web site."

The Wireless Zone product is a black box, about the size of a laptop, with a CD-ROM tray (which can be used for updating the Web site content) and a singe antenna in the back. It runs on a Pentium-class processor, has 128MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive, and works with any PS/2-based keyboard and mouse. Updates to the Web site data can be accomplished via File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

"It's for the non-technical user," says Bradford. "You plug it in, turn it on, and go."

The wireless connectivity is provided by an Intersil PRISM-based card. Bradford says they will eventually move to a dual-band 11a/b version of the Wireless Zone. The product is not user upgradeable to newer 802.11 specifications. It runs in Infrastructure mode, like any access point, to allow as many clients access as possible, though Bradford says it can handle a maximum of 50 simultaneous users.

There's no security built into the Wireless Zone's 802.11 connections, WEP or otherwise. "It's completely insecure -- that way we can get the most possible users," says Bradford. "It has password protected FTP to protect the site data."

The Wireless Zone costs $1895 and volume discounts are available.

You can see IR Data on the exhibition floor at the 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Wednesday and Thursday, December 4 and 5, 2002.