RealTime IT News

Wi-Fi Product Watch: June 2005

June 27-30, 2005

  • Broadcom says it has shipped over 50 million Wi-Fi chipsets, most of them under the 54g brand it began when pushing 802.11g before 802.11g was even a finished specification. The company claims to even be outselling Centrino chipsets from Intel by 65 percent, based on an IDC report (from 2004) of semiconductor vendor profiles. Broadcom's current chips support one touch security setup, a high-speed turbo mode, and a range extending technology. —June 30, 2005

  • Earlier this week, Buffalo Technology announced new products with increased range from higher power. The AirStation(tm) G54 High Power Wireless Broadband Router (model: WZR-HP-G54, $99) and the AirStation(tm) High Power Wireless Notebook Adapter (model: WLI-CB-G54HP, $69) are both 802.11g-based products using Buffalo's AirStation One-Touch Secure System (AOSS) one-button security setup of WPA-PSK with AES encryption. The router includes 4-port 10/100 switch and support for Fiber to the Home (FTTH), plus uses WDS to do bridging and repeating of signals. The CardBus adapter has an external antenna connector to get even better range. —June 29, 2005

  • Wireless Valley is building new functionality into its EnterprisePlanner and LANPlanner network design programs, specifically to support not just the network layout, but also to factor in the applications used on a wireless LAN, specifically VoIP phones like those from SpectraLink. The software considers the number of users, the applications used (from e-mail to Web to phone to video), and the environment and then uses it to spell out exactly what kind of equipment is needed where, and in what configuration. —June 29, 2005

  • Communication Machinery Corporation's EmulationEngine EE-SEC supports 802.11i. The EE line mimics the multiple users on a network using "virtual stations," even if there are no actual users, for testing purposes. Now instead of just checking for standard support, the EE will test security features, comparing open systems to those with a shared key, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enteprirse, and full 11i/WPA2 (which CMC referse to as Robust Security Network or RSN). Extended Authentication Protocol support is also better, now including TLS, TTLS, MS-CHAP, PEAP, and more. —June 29, 2005

  • American Power Conversion (APC) has shipped a palm-sized 3-in-1 Wireless Mobile Router that sells for around $70. It supports 802.11g and can get power from AC adapter or via a USB port, and will work as a router, access point, and Ethernet client adapter. It supports WPA-PSK and 128-bit WEP for security, and has built in firewall in router mode. —June 29, 2005

  • Senforce Technolgoies has more anti-virus support for its Endpoint Security Suite (ESS), adding Sophos, F-Secure Corp. and Panda Software to the list that already included Symantec, Trend Micro, McAfee and Computer Associates. —June 29, 2005

  • Newbury Networks has a new watchdog—WiFi Watchdog 5.0, which the company says is the "first security system to use precise location technology to deliver intrusion prevention, rogue containment, client protection and intrusion detection." This version will include a graphical alert viewer, featuring a view with layers for the floor plan, the devices on the network, and where problems like rogues or devices with spoofed MAC addresses are found. Because the system uses location/positioning in conjunction with its intrusion detection/prevention, it can be specific to letting an employee go online at both the office and the Starbucks/T-Mobile Hotspot next door, no matter what network the employee wants to use.—June 27, 2005

  • Metalink has decided to become the latest player in the MIMO chip space. It says its new WLANPlus MtW8170 baseband works with its existing radio chip and will supposedly deliver more than 240Mbps (specifically, 243). The company is targeting high-end consumer electronics like set-top boxes and HDTVs.—June 27, 2005

  • Berkeley Varitronics Systems has updated its BumbleBee RF spectrum analyzer, the one that works using an HP iPaq Pocket PC as the base. It now works with three distinct frequency bands, by now going into the public safety band of 4.940-4.990 GHz (in addition to the 2.4 to 2.5, and 5.15 to 5.9 GHz bands).—June 27, 2005

  • Aperto Networks says its PacketMax portfolio of WiMax products will be among the first batch to be certified for interoperability at the CETECOM labs in Malaga, Spain next month. The company says it has already internally tested its product for interoperability and says that the different chipsets—Aperto uses Intel in the subscriber unit and Fujitsu chips in the base station—work just fine together. —June 27, 2005

    June 20-24, 2005

  • Proxim says "we're not dead yet" after selling its business this month, by introducing its first ORiNOCO Smart Wireless Controller, which provides virtual LAN (VLAN) capabilities on networks using the ORiNOCO AP-4000 access points. Proxim says the controller will "ensure roaming throughout an entire coverage area" as users move from one VLAN to another. It will sell for $3,000, and through July 30, 2005 there's 50% off when buying a second unit through a Proxim distributor.—June 24, 2005

  • Trapeze Networks says its Mobility System WLAN switch is the first to be certified by SpectraLink on that company's Voice Interoperability for Enterprise Wireless (VIEW) Certification Program. The program will make sure SpectraLink NetLink Wireless phones work with the tested infrastructure. The company says VIEW builds on the success SpectraLink has had with its Voice Priority (SVP) program "by adding security and performance requirements plus standards based QoS" (Quality of Service). All the Trapeze Mobility Point hardware supports SVP along with Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).—June 24, 2005

  • Germany's Signalion says its HaLo system for testing wireless hardware provides a simple way to "transmit data over the air directly out of a simulation environment such as a C-program or MATLAB," including support for multiple antenna systems like MIMO. The smallest version has two receive and two transmit antennas running with a 60MHz channel bandwidth in both 2.4 and 5GHz radio spectrum. That can go up to as many as 8 antennas. The HaLo hardware consists of boxes that hook up to a simulation PC via USB cables. Data streams are created in the simulations environment and transferred to a HaLo unit, sent via radio to the receiving unit, then back into simulation for analysis.—June 24, 2005

  • Ignoring the safety issue, who really wants in-car broadband? While moving? Okay, I do, too. So Omniwav Mobile's MBR-1100 Mobile Broadband Router unit, which provides this in 40 metro areas, is a god-send. At least until some legislators probably make Web surfing while driving illegal. It will connect to various types of networks, including EV-DO, CDMA, and Wi-Fi. The target audience is, in part, taxis and limos, those vehicles where the passenger takes precedence, so they'll likely do most of the surfing, though the company hopes to sell to those with service vans and the like as well, even boats and RVs.—June 24, 2005

  • Wayport is going to start reselling Vocera Communications' Star Trek-like badge-based voice system. Vocera is popular in healthcare settings where the voice activation is useful to keep hands free. Now Wayport is betting it will also be popular with the staff at many of its hotspot locations, particularly in the hospitality, conference and airport locations. —June 22, 2005

  • GigaWave Technologies and Cisco Systems have new wireless training courses on the way this year. All are officially authorized by Cisco. They include the four-day Aironet Wireless Fundamentals & Site Survey Curriculum v5.0 (now including the Aironet 1130AG and 1200AG series plus the new site survey tool); a three-day Airespace Installation, Administration, and Maintenance course covering the WLAN switch system Cisco bought earlier this year; and finally the four-day Aironet WLAN Advanced Topics, with intense focus on integrating Aironet APs into a wired infrastructure such as those using the Cisco 6500 switch.—June 21, 2005

  • FireTide is launching new mesh equipment to compete better in the hospitality and conference world. The new HotPort 3101 will, according to the company, "quickly extend Internet access and networking services property-wide with little or no disruption to daily operations." It works with existing HotPorts for indoors and out, and comes with four 10/100 Ethernet ports and two omni-directional antennas for expansion. It handles both 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals.—June 21, 2005

  • Berkeley Varitronics Systems has a new WLAN frequency and power analysis meter. Called Caterpillar, the unit checks on 802.11a, b and g networks. It talks directly to APs or NICs using an SMA antenna connection kit and will generate a power profile based on information gathered. BVS says it can be used to measure not just 802.11, but also Bluetooth, ZigBee and other wireless signals, even cordless phones and video transmitters. The Caterpillar sells for $750 and has a backlit display and rechargeable Ni-MH battery.—June 21, 2005

  • Viper Networks says it's ready to bring out its new Wi-Fi enabled VoIP phone. The vPhone 3100 model replaces the wired 2100 launched last year. The 3100 is meant to be used to make calls over any 802.11 network, include hotspots. The company will sell the phone through its Web site and distributors, as well as new retail partners—the company has its own retail store open in Sterling Heights, Mich., near the company HQ.—June 21, 2005

  • Roving Planet says it will continue to support Proxim access points with its Commander Suite 3.0 Enterprise Edition security and management software. Other vendors of hardware have been offering discounts to take advantage of the fact that Proxim recently announced it was selling its business. According to Network World, Proxim will be introducing new products soon anyway, including a mesh architecture to run on the ORiNOCO AP-4000 AP.—June 21, 2005

  • Netgear is expanding its line of RangeMax products which use "MIMO" smart antenna technology from Video54, to include an access point (model WPN802) that will be offered at a list price of $157. It uses Atheros chips to be compatible for higher speeds with any Super G products, and also works with standard 802.11b/g clients. The Video54 BeamFlex smart antenna tech can use up to 127 possible configurations for the wireless signal to avoid dead spots. The AP will support WPA-PSK (home), WEP up to 128-bit, and MAC address authentication for security. The AP can also go into repeater mode or bridging mode, supporting Wireless Distribution System (WDS) and up to two VPN tunnels via pass-through.—June 21, 2005

  • Freescale Semiconductor says it is showing the first ultrawideband (UWB) -equipped LCD high-def television, with partner Haier Corp., at the Freescale Technology Forum this week in Orlando. They used the UWB demo to broadcast HDTV signals from a media server to a 37-inch television on the other side of a stage. Haier plans to make the tv/server combo available to consumers in China this year, and in the United States by 2006.—June 21, 2005

    June 13-15, 2005

  • ZyXEL's ZyAIR G-2000 Plus 802.11b/g Wireless 4-port Router is a router that integrates a RADIUS server that supports 802.1X authentication using Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP), so small businesses can get full use of enterprise-class Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security, authenticating individual users as they log in. (ZyXEL calls it the first, but Wi-Fi Networking News points out that Gateway actually beat them to it.) The $179 device is on display at the Wi-Fi/VoWi-Fi Planet Conference & Expo this week in Baltimore, Md. —June 15, 2005

  • Corriente has released an Enterprise version of its Elektron RADIUS/802.1X software for $750, a companion to the SMB version that sells for $250. The higher-end version will support external user databases like LDAP, SQL, or other RADIUS servers. It also supports more EAP protocols, including LEAP and TLS. —June 15, 2005

  • TeliaSonera Sweden has signed a deal to provide Columbitech's Wireless VPN software to end users. It will become the basis for the Telia Connect Pro service, which can be used at hotspots and other forms of access, including 3G and cellular services. —June 15, 2005

  • Cognio is releasing what it calls the "first laptop-based spectrum analyzer." Called Intelligent Spectrum Management(TM) System (ISMS), the software is based on Cognio's cognitive radio technology to find sources of interference that can impact performance or security in 802.11 RF spectrum, all in real-time. The software will run on standard laptops and cost $3,995 from Cognio. Airmagnet is going to release its own version of Cognio's ISMS called Airmagnet Spectrum Analyzer, to be a companion to its Airmagnet Laptop troublehshooting software, but hasn't announced pricing yet. —June 15, 2005

  • Proxim's body isn't even cold (and not even really dead) but the WLAN switch vendors are still ready to help Proxim customers make a quick switch to new systems:

    Trapeze Networks says its Mobility System switch has a "new level of interoperability" with the popular ORiNOCO AP-4000 and AP-2000 access points made by Proxim. Using Trapeze's Open Access Point Initiative (OAPI), the AP-4000 will now work like a Trapeze AP  for everything from secure roaming to AAA, all the while controlled by the Mobility Exchange switches or planned for in the Ringmaster software tool. The support doesn't require a change to the Proxim equipment — it's a free upgrade for the Trapeze Mobility System software.

    Meru Networks says companies using the  AP-4000 and AP-2000 can go through its commercial migration program to get trade-in credits toward purchasing new Meru products.  —June 14, 2005

  • SMC Network has a new family of what it calls 108Mbps 802.11b/g products. This EZ Connect line consists of an $80 router (with four 10/100 Ethernet ports and the usual security features including WPA and 802.1X) , a$50 CardBus adapter, a $60 USB adapter, and a $50 PCI adapter for desktop systems, all available now. A $80 wireless-to-Ethernet bridge that can work as an AP or repeater will be out in July. Product will also come in kits: one will have the router and CardBus adapter for $100, the other will have router and USB adapter for $120. All run Atheros chips support the SuperG performance boost. —June 14, 2005

  •  WiTopia.net is introducing new pricing to entice businesses into use its hosted 802.1X/RADIUS service called SecureMyWiFi (see our review). Previously they charged $29 per year for securing one access point with up to five users. Now they'll start at $10 per year per access point, and then $1 per year per users on Windows XP/2000, Mac OS X, or Linux. —June 14, 2005

  • Mesh Networking equipment maker Sensoria Corporation says it has licensed the source code for the late Telesym's SymPhone VoIP product, which it had previously built into software for American soldiers in Afghanistan. The company will continue to integrate it in to make a "highly integrated peer-to-peer voice communication solution in addition to real-time video and data sharing for public safety organizations." —June 14, 2005

  •  SOMA Networks is working with Sanyo Electric Co. to "jointly develop and manufacture next generation consumer electronics and infrastructure products for the broadband wireless access (BWA) market" on what SOMA's COO Greg Caltabiano calls a "pre-WiMax" product that will work for residential broadband with a customer premises unit (CPE). The company are trialing the product now and expect to have them commercially ready by the second half of 2005. —June 14, 2005

  • Wireless for free? If you're willing to work for it, yes: anyone who has broadband and signs up for Vonage's Voice over IP service in the home can upgrade their old router to a Linksys Wireless-G Router (model WRTP54G) configured with two phone ports for Vonage use, for free. 'Free' is relative, though, as you have to buy the router and service in order to get rebates ($10 from Linksys, plus another $50 when you mail in your old router, then $20 from the reseller, and $50 from Vonage after using the service for 90 days). Oh, and Vonage still costs $25 a month, and we're not talking VoIP phones here—you plug your regular phone into the Vonage port. The offer is only good through July 23, 2005. Resellers include Amazon.com, Best Buy, Buy.com, Circuit City, CompUSA, Fry's, Office Depot, Radio Shack and Staples.—June 13, 2005

  • Nintendo has another Wi-Fi equipped game to add to the list of games it has ready for Nintendo DS and the soon-to-follow 1,000 hotspots that the game maker is getting ready to launch. GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, from Electronic Arts, is the platform's first first-person shooter, and features players playing former British secret agents working for classic James Bond villains while in a wireless multiplayer mode. —June 13, 2005

    June 6-10, 2005

  • hawking-hwl2a.jpgImagine a Wi-Fi signal locator that not only tells you if there's an 802.11b or g network around, but also tells you if it's encrypted—and even connects your laptop to that network. That's the plan with Hawking Technologies' new Wi-Fi Locator Professional Edition products, one for Windows users (HWL2, $80) and another for Macintosh users (HWL2A, $100). You flip the unit open like a Star Trek communicator, and the lid acts as a high-gain 5.5 dBi directional antenna. LEDs tell you what kind of network is out there, the signal strength, and if WEP or WPA is turned on. If it's not encrypted, you plug a USB cable into the Locator and connect it to your laptop—the hardware is also a Wi-Fi USB adapter. When it's plugged into the laptop, the Locator's batteries are also recharged.—June 9, 2005

  • Sputnik says its Control Center software for wireless management will now integrate with Microsoft Active Directory via Microsoft's Internet Authentication Service. As a result, enterprises using Active Directory can use Sputnik CC for wireless administration. It will also allow guest user access, but will prevent guests from getting to sensitive network info. It's part of a new version of a $300 module Sputnik has for supporting RADIUS servers, and will also work with the Web-based SputnikNet hosted applications.—June 9, 2005

  • SOHOware, which recently built in Airgo Networks's True MIMO chips, is also going to support Alepo software in the AeroGuard product. When tied to an Alepo server, this will allow those using it for hotspot public access to get instant AAA support for billing and authentication of users.—June 9, 2005

  • Cirond is now shipping its AirSafe Enterprise software, which is meant to protect laptops against wireless attacks such as "evil twins" and "wiphishing." The software turns off any Wi-Fi connections if a laptop is plugged into Ethernet, and will force use of a virtual private network (VPN) connection when a user is not on the corporate network (as designated by network administrators).—June 9, 2005

  • Sygate and Aruba Networks announced this week what they call the "first on-demand security system for enterprise mobility." It will combine Sygate's Network Access Control with Aruba's WLAN mobility switch products. Aruba will license and build the Sygate On-Demand Agent (SODA) into its operating system, calling it the Aruba Client Integrity Module for ArubaOS. The client is downloaded automatically to endpoints (clients) to confirm that policies are in place. It will check for anti-virus software, personal firewalls, patches, system registry values and even specific files. It will quarantine non-compliant users as needed. The applet disappears from the endpoint once the client disconnects from the network.—June 7, 2005

  • Satellite broadband equipment provider iDirect is launching a new line of products called Global Edge Connect, which will include a long-range Wi-Fi antenna, as well as Pronto Network's Operations Support Systems (OSS) running on top of it. The company states, "Drop this anywhere and you've got a wireless ISP with OSS, billing, authentication, security, and up to 18Mbps, anywhere in the world," thanks to the satellite backhaul (this according to Jon Douglas, marketing director). —June 7, 2005

  • Netgear is getting into the WLAN switch world, though not on the high end with startups like Aruba and Trapeze. The company's new unit will specifically support the Netgear ProSafe Wireless Access Points that support AutoCell, the self-configuring software that tackles things like channel assignments and power output on the fly. The new switch will be used to push policies and other settings to the APs, and will allow monitoring of the adaptive AutoCell APs by integrating AutoCell View, which was previously sold separately. The company is targeting this as a "scalable solution for larger, more complex SMB network infrastructures." —June 7, 2005

  • Ember says it has the world's first ZigBee-on-a-chip solution. The EM250 is the company's second generation 802.15.4/ZigBee chip, the first on a single chip, and includes the software stack called EmberZNet 2.0 and other software tools for programming and debugging. The EM250 measures only 7mm square. —June 7, 2005

  • US Robotics has a new Wireless MAXg ADSL Gateway (model: USR9108) that integrates 802.11g into an ADSL2+ modem (along with four-port Ethernet switch, firewall and USB printer). It supports WPA2/11i, 802.1X authentication, disabled SSID broadcasts, VPN pass-thru and the usual other items found in Wi-Fi routers. It will cost $140. —June 7, 2005

  • Wi-Fi phone maker Spectralink is working with Sylantro Systems, which makes hosted PBX/IP Centrix applications for service providers so they don't have the costs associated with running their own PBX system. Corporations that use Sylantro should be able to get on the Wi-Fi phone bandwagon quickly. —June 7, 2005

  • NEC Solutions America says it will be working with Tropos Networks to build mesh-based metro Wi-Fi networks for use by first responders. The Tropos MetroMesh products will integrate with NEC's Sentrus Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Records Management System (RMS). Sentrus also has modules for managing crime scenes, field reports, and more. —June 7, 2005

  • Roving Planet has a new module for the enterprise version of its Commander Suite 3.0 WLAN security/management software called Scan & Block. It forces endpoints (clients) to have full security compliance before they can log in. It will scan devices running Windows, Mac or Linux OSes. If the endpoint doesn't have the needed anti-virus or OS patches (for example), they won't be able to sign on. It will also automate remediation of problems to get the user online without extra steps. The company has also shipped a new version of its AP Commander supporting Mac OS X Server version 10.4, known as "Tiger." —June 7, 2005

  • Novatel Wireless says its new MobiLink 2.0 software will handle connections on both 3G wireless and Wi-Fi networks, as well as Ethernet networks if users have a Novatel Merlin PC Card or Expedite embedded support. The software will let people hot-swap 3G devices, and it comes in 17 different languages. —June 7, 2005

  • Funk Software has a new version of Steel-Belted Radius called Session Control Server, which handles policy enforcement. It's targeted at operators that want to offer new services and protect themselves against fraudulent users and abusers. —June 7, 2005

    June 1-3, 2005

  • Atheros reports this week that its Wi-Fi chips are now being used in devices from several Asian companies. They include USB 2.0 Wi-Fi adapters from IO Data Devices (the WN-AG/US) and NEC Access Technica (AtermWL54TU) in Japan. Both are running the Atheros 802.11a/b/g chip, and support the Super AG performance boost. ICOM is also using the a/b/g chips in new access points and routers—it works with ICOM's wireless IP handset, as well as other Wi-Fi handsets like the cellular/Wi-Fi combo unit from NTT DoCoMo.— June 3, 2005

  • Tatung is going to start manufacturing the Roku Wi-Fi Media Modules that power Roku's wireless music system. Other companies can also get the Roku Evaluation Kit to see how the modules can be integrated into other products. Tatung will work with Roku on designing new consumer products using Roku's software and designs.—June 1, 2005

  • SMC will be selling a re-branded version of Wireless Valley's LANPlanner software as the EliteConnect SMC Wireless LANPlanner for designing wireless networks. It will be used by SMC resellers and system integrators to (obviously) design 802.11a/b/g networks using SMC equipment.—June 1, 2005