Wi-Fi News Briefs

By ISP-Planet Staff

September 17, 2002

Sanswire engulfs Tsunami, Alcatel vows to enter the hotspot equipment making arena, and Funk Software builds 802.1x into new versions of its RADIUS software for strong WLAN security.

Sanswire Completes Tsunami Deal
International, high-speed, wireless Internet service provider Sanswire Technologies, Inc. has completed its acquisition of certain assets of Tsunami Communications, Inc., a Spokane, Wash.-based wireless Internet service provider (WISP).

In a cash and stock transaction, Sanswire will issue 1,000,000 shares of common stock valued at $1.50 a share, plus pay a deferred cash payment of $185,000 dollars in two years. The acquisition is expected to add approximately $2.5 million dollars in tangible assets to the book value of Sanswire.

Tsunami is a broadband service provider to multi-tenant units (MTUs) in Seattle, Spokane, Boise, and Coeur d'Alene, Wash. It is also the sole service provider to Eastern Washington State University. Additionally, the company also provides high speed Internet access through the local cable TV infrastructure and has a subscriber base of over 4,000 customers.

Michael K. Molen, Sanswire president, said the purchase is the first of what will be many acquisitions of regional WISPs.

"With the global acceptance of wireless as a true mechanism to deliver high-speed Internet connectivity, we're committed to a growth strategy of acquiring successful regional based carriers to complete our National footprint," Molen said.

He added that the company is aggressively looking to complete additional acquisitions in the coming quarters, to further development of its business and its footprint.

"Our vision for Sanswire is to develop a national wireless network that will allow our subscribers to access the Internet at high speed from anywhere in the country through various wireless devices" Molen said.

The Tsunami acquisition provides Sanswire a key presence in a technology rich area of the Pacific Northwest. Tsunami serves a key market through the provision of service to thousands of college students, professionals, small businesses, and the general public. It also has key commercial rooftop locations in the market that provide line-of-sight to a much higher number of customers.

Sanswire intends to make the most of "location based marketing" efforts to provide much higher rates of return on subscriber revenues, by keeping the costs of customer premise equipment low.

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Alcatel to Make Hotspots
Alcatel, the French telecom equipment provider that sells mainly into the asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) and local multipoint distribution service (LMDS) markets, will soon be moving into the wireless local area network (WLAN) side of connectivity. In a deal with Quebec-based Colubris Networks, Alcatel will soon be making its own branded hotspot hardware.

The WLAN services Alcatel will provide will be complements to existing global system mobile/general packet radio service (GSM/GPRS) and universal mobile telecom system (UMTS) service offerings, providing WLAN public access to existing mobile network customers.

Alcatel and Colubris have already partnered on other opportunities in Asia and Europe.

Colubris makes WLAN hotspot solutions that integrate virtual private network (VPN) connections as well as firewall security. Alcatel's President of Mobile Networks, Marc Rouanne, said he was very pleased to enter this partnership with Colubris, "which will allow us to complement our fixed and mobile access solutions portfolio with an innovative and secure Wireless LAN access solution."

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Funk Focuses on Wireless Security
Funk Software Inc. revealed enhanced versions of its Odyssey Server and Steel-Belted Radius Enterprise Edition wireless authentication applications. Both applications are based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) security standard 802.1x, and support strong WLAN security protocols that provide data privacy and unsurpassed credential security over the wireless link, plus strong mutual authentication of client and server.

Both products also seamlessly integrate into a network and permit secure authentication of WLAN users against an existing authentication scheme, such as Windows or a token system.

Joe Ryan, Funk Software vice president, said IT managers need a WLAN security solution they can commit to for the long term.

"With our complete suite of products, we're delivering just that. Both Odyssey and Steel-Belted Radius fully meet enterprise WLAN security requirements, and, because they interoperate and are based on the highly scalable and industry-standard 802.1x architecture, they easily accommodate growing or evolving networks," Ryan said.

Each solution is appropriate for a particular type of enterprise. Odyssey v1.1 provides strong WLAN security for smaller organizations or autonomous networks in larger companies where network access is governed by Windows user names and passwords.

Steel-Belted Radius v4.0 is appropriate for larger organizations that need to authenticate WLAN users against non-Windows authentication schemes. Additionally, Odyssey Server can communicate with Steel-Belted Radius to authenticate WLAN users in branch offices or distributed departments against a central security infrastructure. Both Odyssey Server and Steel-Belted Radius offers includes:

  • Strong WLAN security, based on the WLAN security protocols
  • EAP-TTLS and EAP-TLS, which fully protect credentials over the wireless link, to prevent cryptographic attack on password; distribute per-session 128-bit encryption keys, and re-key at specified intervals, to provide data privacy; and support strong mutual authentication of client and server, to prevent unauthorized access and connection spoofing.
  • Easy management with EAP-TTLS, allowing seamless integration of WLAN user management and security into an enterprise's existing authentication schemeincluding Windows, token systems, and SQL/LDAPand access infrastructure.

For full security, the use of 802.1x client software that supports EAP-TTLS and/or EAP-TLS, such as Funk Software's Odyssey Client, is required.

Pricing and availability
Odyssey v1.1 and Steel-Belted Radius v4.0 are available directly from Funk Software as well as through local system integrators and resellers. Odyssey costs $2,500, which includes Odyssey Server and 25 Odyssey Client licenses. Steel-Belted Radius/Enterprise Edition costs $4,000; Steel-Belted Radius/Global Enterprise Edition costs $10,000. Odyssey Client costs $50; quantity discounts and private-label licensing are available.

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