The Best of the Wi-Fi Planet

By Eric Griffith

June 10, 2004

Our third Best of Show awards showcases some of the most unique new products powered by Wi-Fi.

BALTIMORE -- New innovations are always on display on the show floor of the Wi-Fi Planet Conference and Expo, and this week's show is no exception. The decision of who to pick as the Best of Show wasn't easy, but we feel the five products represented here are among the best the industry has to offer (and show the promise of products to come).

To be eligible for the awards, the products had to be on display in the show's exhibit hall this week, and the company had to nominate itself to get our attention. The editors of Wi-Fi Planet narrowed the list to those we thought had brought the most innovation to their category, and set our judges upon the vendors to get the full scoop. After deliberation, we narrowed our primary categories to a single product each -- the Best of Show.

Hotzone Infrastructure
Tropos Networks' 5110 Outdoor Wi-Fi Cell
benefits from ease of installation -- any municipal worker could put them up on light poles in just a few minutes, according to the company -- and the company's recent updates to its Tropos Sphere and Tropos Control keeps this already leading package for municipal hotzone deployment well in the lead.

Ekahau's T101 WiFi Tag
isn't what most would call standard radio frequency ID (RFID) like the kind Wal-Mart is testing to track packages. Ekahau's solution is bigger, bulkier -- and uses not only standard Wi-Fi, but also will work with existing WLAN installations without any special overlays. It could be just what your industry needs.

Voice over IP Infrastructure
Chantry Networks' VNSWorks for VoWLAN
stands out even in a world overrun by voice over wireless LAN products and services. The Virtual Network Services (VNSWorks) takes advantage of Chantry's BeaconWorks Layer 3 routing abilities to get virtually seamless IP roaming from one access point (or BeaconPoint, in their case) to another, delivering virtually zero latency.

Small-to-Medium Business Security
Interlink Networks' LucidLink Wireless Security
is one of the most innovative and easy to use security solutions to come along in a while. Install the software, give each PC a piece of client software, and with the push of some on-screen buttons you get an almost instant RADIUS server ready to provide authentication for the whole office.

Enterprise Security and Management
Newbury Networks' Wi-Fi WorkPlace
is the company's follow up to its previous Best of Show winner, WiFi Watchdog. It contains all the features of that location-aware security product, but adds on network management features, such as VLAN tagging and a "weather map" of what client has associated with what AP. When matched up with policy enforcement based on the location of the client, you're looking at the first major product to bring effective location-awareness into corporate WLANs.

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