Symbol Secures WLAN, Adds 802.11a and Dual-Mode Products

Symbol Technologies of Holtsville, NY, has licensed wireless VPN technology from Sweden’s Columbitech to create AirBEAM Safe, a gatekeeper product that adds VPN tunneling security for wireless PocketPCs and computers running Windows 2000/XP and DOS. The product is part of the company’s MobiusGuard suite of WLAN security mechanisms based on existing standards.

Symbol is announcing the products at Networld+Interop in Las Vegas today.

In an interview, Pontus Bergdahl, president and CEO of Columbitech, described the AirBEAM Safe as a “completely new breed of VPN built from the ground up for wireless. In my mind, if you’re going to roll out a VPN solution to a mobile staff, people who might not be IT savvy, it just has to work. You can’t have frustrations like loging in again and losing information. AirBEAM Safe is designed with that in mind.”

AirBEAM Safe’s virtual private networking uses the WTLS (Wireless Transport Layer Security) protocol. It will support up to 20 certificate authentications per second and uses DES, 3DES, and AES encryption.

“WEP encryption from the NIC to the access point has been heavily critizised. Customers want to encrypt more than just the air signal… they want a VPN solution,” says Bergdahl.

Symbol has also announced shipment of two new products, the 802.11a Mobius 5224 Access Point and a CompactFlash embedded LAN/WAN module for OEMs.

The Mobius 5224 AP is designed to snap into other Symbol 802.11b access points to create an instant dual-mode 802.11a/b access point. It supports a 72Mbps proprietary “turbo mode” speed.

The Compact Flash LAN/WAN module builds GPRS, GSM, and 802.11b technologies into a single card, allowing for smaller footprints in future products that utilize the design. It operates in the 900/1800/1900 MHz band for GSM and 850/1900MHz for GPRS (in North America), as well as the usual 2.4GHz band for data/voice on Wi-Fi LANs.

Price and other product specifications have not yet been announced.

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