Wi-Fi Product Watch, January 2009

January picks and pans.

This month our reviewers looked at a Wi-Fi-enabled digital picture frame, a new Squeezebox, several new Netbooks, a hotspot utility for Windows Mobile smartphones, and enterprise-grade RF Management Software. Read snippets below, or click on the link to read the full review.

Review: eStarling ImpactV Wireless Clip Frame

Finally, a Wi-Fi-enabled digital picture frame that we can love. The ImpactV ($199.99) displays photos and videos, which users can easily upload from cell phones (there’s even a free iPhone app) or Web browsers–and the frame’s display looks great, too.

Review: Logitech Squeezebox Boom

For the same price as the original Squeezebox, users can get the Boom ($299) and gain the ability to wirelessly stream high-quality digital audio anywhere at home, instead of having to integrate with an existing A/V setup.

Four Favorite Netbooks

The ultraportable, affordable netbook class of PCs, on which Wi-Fi generally comes standard, just keeps getting better. We recommend four of our favorites under $550 (even less, if you prefer Linux) from the second generation.

Review: WMWiFiRouter Utility

The WMWiFiRouter utility ($29.99) turns some Windows Mobile smartphones into Wi-Fi hotspots.

Review: Motorola RF Management Software v2.0 (RF Management Suite Part 4)  

In the final installment of our four-part review of the Motorola RF Management Suite, we evaluate the WLAN status and performance monitoring tool that helps administrators to visualize and pinpoint problems in near real time.


SmallBusinessComputing announced Wednesday the winners of its 2009 Awards: Readers Pick the Best Small Business Tech Tools.

Among the winners were the Lenovo SL ThinkPad SL300 and runners-up, the HP EliteBook 6930p and the Dell Inspiron Mini 9. Also the Wi-Fi-enabled iPhone 3G and runner-up (in the mobile device category), the BlackBerry Bold.


CBS has entered an agreement with Verizon Communications to offer full-length TV shows on Verizon Wireless mobile devices. New and existing prime time and daytime shows will be available on Verizon’s VCast mobile video service.

Shows such as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “60 Minutes,” and “Survivor” will be accessible via VCast and on Verizon’s FIOS TV fiber-optic network.

January 6, 2009

Motorola got a jump on its CES announcements today, releasing news of its wi4 WiMAX CPEi 775–“an all-in-one access device that combines a high-performing WiMAX 802.16e modem with an integrated Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g router, VoIP ATA ports for voice calling, and an Ethernet port”—making our case that this year’s CES (and, in fact, this year—period) will be about integration and mobility. (We also think this year will be about security and energy-conservation, but we’ll get to that later.)

The CPEi 775 has, according to Moto, a “sleek, ultra-thin form factor that can be made available to service providers in a variety of eye-catching colors.” We couldn’t track down a photo of the device, so we’ll have to take Motorola’s word for it. (You can see the CPEi750 here.)

“It takes considerable know-how to put two different radio technologies together in a single package with internal antennas and not suffer from interference or degraded throughput. With the CPEi 775, we are able to provide high performance in a very attractive form factor,” said Charles Riggle, senior director of strategy and business development, WiMAX devices, Motorola Home & Networks Mobility in a press release Tuesday.

The CPEi 775 is designed to be easy to install (plug-and-play) and supports over-the-air software upgrade capabilities.

“Multimedia-dependent consumers keep a close eye on the evolving capabilities of wireless broadband and increase their expectations at a rapid pace: not just more, faster data, but data wherever, however, and whenever they want it,” said Riggle. “Motorola’s success in this industry comes from our ability to meet these demands, and this new product illustrates that by connecting Wi-Fi devices to a WiMAX network.”

The Motorola wi4 WiMAX CPEi 775 is WiMAX Forum Wave 2 ready and is currently shipping in the 3.5 GHz band with support for the 5MHz, 7MHz, and 10 MHz bandwidths.


Meru Networks today introduced a new FIPS gateway for use by government agencies and enterprises with heightened security needs. 

The new SG1000 Security Gateway (starting at $19,000) is in review for validation at Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 3, a computer security standard created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) used to accredit cryptographic models.

According to NIST, Level 3, in addition to the tamper-evident physical security mechanisms required at Security Level 2, attempts to deny intruders access to CSPs (critical security parameters) held within the cryptographic module “by using strong enclosures and tamper detection/response circuitry that zeroizes all plaintext CSPs when the removable covers/doors of the cryptographic module are opened.”

Meru says Level 3 is the highest security level sought by any wireless LAN vendor to date. 

If it is certified, the SG1000 will mean full FIPS 140-2 compliance for any network into which it is deployed. “As wireless becomes an increasingly important component of federal, defense, and other government networks, users at these agencies need the same assurances of security that they have in their wired networks,” said Sivaram Nayudu, Meru product line director in a press release Tuesday. 

The SG1000 was recommended for validation under NIST procedures by InfoGard Laboratories, an independent, accredited IT security laboratory based in the United States. It is available to enterprise customers now.

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