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Linux Appliance Software Adds 802.11

Cybernet's NetMAX product line is, in the words of Nathan Pitts, head software engineer, "made to simplify networking and the IT life." So adding Wi-Fi to the product is probably a no-brainer.

The company is adding support for basic 802.11b infrastructure functions to the Red Hat Linux-based NetMAX Professional 4.03 -- meaning the Internet appliances powered by it will also work as access points. NetMAX also comes in versions specific to providing just firewall or firewall with IPSec virtual private networks (VPNs), both of which are also in the Pro version. Demo's to the NetMAX interface are available on the Cybernet Web site .

The company's release touting the Wi-Fi addition points to customer requests, and Pitts says one area of those customers is government, which he says helped subsidize some of the development of 802.11 support in NetMAX.

One of the main NetMAX customers is Toshiba Computer Systems Group; the company ships the software (Pro or VPN version) as one of the operating system options on the Toshiba Magnia SG20 Wireless Mobility Server. The SG20 comes with a PC Card slot.

The initial support for 802.11b will cover basic access point functions: changing the SSID and channel, and using Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and MAC address filtering for security. To get wireless, the box running NetMAX has to support PC Cards; NetMAX will only work with cards based on Intersil's PRISM 2 chipset for now.

Pitts says that the only limitation the company has on what kind of Wi-Fi it supports is based on the rate of development for Wi-Fi in the Open Source Field -- right now he says PRISM 2 is all they can do. Their next step will be to introduce ad hoc/peer-to-peer wireless networking for NetMAX.

802.11 Planet Conference What other products will soon be supporting Wi-Fi? Join us at the 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo, June 25 - 27, 2003 at the World Trade Center Boston in Boston, MA. Analysts from a variety of research companies will gather to do discuss the State Of The Equipment Market .