Wi-Fi Product Watch: March 2005

By Wi-Fi Planet Staff

March 31, 2005

GigaBeam connects with Trump; PSP arrives with Wi-Fi; Connexion plans for the water; and more

March 28 - March 31, 2005

  • Berkeley Varitronics Systems (BVS) says it has released new software for the Yellowjacket 802.11b RF spectrum protocol analysis and direction finding receiver, which runs on an HP iPAQ Pocket PC unit. Version 4.0 is free to current users, and includes new analysis screens (such as signal-to-noise ratio), better MAC listings for clients on the WLAN, and a snapshot feature to capture all such screens.

  • Aruba Networks is working with the folks in Redmond to make sure its wireless LAN switch architecture will support Microsoft's Network Access Protection technology to enforce security policies. The company says this will let their infrastructure equipment lock both the wires and the air to encrypt data. NAP is being built into Windows-based servers from Microsoft.

  • GigaBeam says it has its first NYC link in place, connecting the Trump International Hotel & Tower at Columbus Circle with Trump Place at 180 Riverside Boulevard using its WiFiber "wireless fiber." Both buildings are, obviously, owned by The Donald. The link was installed by Microwave Satellite Technologies. This is the first of 20 WiFiber links it has planned for the city. You can read more about GigaBeam here.

  • Bandspeed has started a beta program to get the reference design using its chips and software into the hands of OEMs and ODMs. The program will last for three months, after which the Bandspeed software and silicon, which specializes in radio frequency (RF) adaptation and extended range, is going into full production for customers.

  • New Zealand's RoamAD is going to sell its software separately from its mesh Wi-Fi hardware—previously, customers had to get both. The company says providers in Australia, North America, Asia and Europe are already using the software to control metropolitan mesh networks built with other equipment; the hardware simply has to use RoamAD's reference design for it to work. Each node is built with up to four radios inside, using 802.11b for clients and 11a for backhaul between the nodes.

  • The cool stuff on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) continues to arrive unabated— in Asia, at least. Now KT Corp. in South Korea is working with Sony to turn the PSP into a Web surfing console to be used at KT's 14,000 hotspot locations. This according to Wireless Watch Japan. PSP won't be available there until May.

  • WiMax equipment maker Airspan Networks is in the process of buying VoIP company ArelNet in a stock buy worth $8.7 million. This gives Airspan, a WiMax Forum member and maker of the AS.MAX line of 802.16-2004 products, a leg up in voice, since ArelNet makes softswitches and gateways for all standards.

  • MetroMesh maker Tropos Networks is in a deal with NetMotion Wireless to promote roaming between metro-sized Wi-Fi networks and wide area networks. The two are working together on a deployment in Milpitas, Calif., to make sure public safety officers can do so using NetMotion's Mobility XE software. They will continue to do joint sales and promotion of each other's products on first responder and government deployments in the future.

  • Terayon Communications Systems has introduced a new home networking gateway that cable broadband operators can provide to customers. The TJ 855 hardware integrates 802.11g into a DOCSIS 2.0/CableHome 1.1 cable modem, along with a four-port Ethernet switch. It has the usual complement of security you'd find in a standalone wireless router: WEP, WPA, 802.1X, NAT and SPI firewalls, access control list, and parental controls.

  • Trapeze Networks says that the FreeRADIUS server system that comes with Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 or Open Enterprise Server works seamlessly with the Mobility System from Trapeze. That means companies that already have a full SUSE Linux deployment can use the Trapeze wireless switch equipment without having to install another RADIUS server to keep track of end users. The integration was done by Alpha NetSolutions, a Novell partner.

  • Ready for ZigBee? Ember say it is. The company, which will be making ZigBee chips in 2005 (chips that will be used for low-cost wireless mesh to control household appliances, lights, etc.) says its 2005 roadmap already includes a "next-generation ZigBee semiconductor system" (interesting, since we don't even have a first gen yet), full production of chips using a ZigBee stack that's still in compliance testing, extensions that will make it easier for vendors to write ZigBee applications on Ember chips, and even courses for vendors who want to learn how to write those applications.

  • The third edition of the CWNA (Certified Wireless Network Administrator) Study Guide is now available for $75 from Planet3 Wireless. The 592-page book, published by McGraw-Hill, will get you ready for the vendor-neutral CWNA exam PW0-100, part of the CWNP Program. Order it now and you may still be able to get a free CWNA practice test, which usually sells for $50 by itself.

  • Bluesocket says the latest version of its wireless gateway software, version 4.1, will interoperate with the security software from Check Point, after receiving certification for Check Point's OPSEC (Open Platform for Security). Check Point's Integrity Clientless Security is mean to keep systems clean of viruses, spyware and more without being intrusive into end user systems, by checking systems before they are allowed to log into a network to make sure the client is following security policies.

    March 21-25, 2005

  • Sony's new PlayStation Portable (PSP) is out, and it comes complete with 802.11b built in, both to go on the Internet and for ad hoc games among up to 16 units. What about security, though? In Japan, that issue might be solved, as Sony is building support for Buffalo Technology's AirStation One-Touch Secure System (AOSS) into the software. AOSS lets a person push a button on a Buffalo router, and the clients that support AOSS will automatically link to it with full encryption in place. No word on when or if the AOSS software upgrade will be available to PSP users in the United States.

  • Fixed wireless operators and ISPs will be taking the lead on WiMax deployments by using it for backhaul, according to a survey of industry players conducted by Pyramid Research, which compared the wireless broadband technology to the "competition," namely DSL, cable, Wi-Fi and 3G. They don't expect any kind of convergence between cellular and the initial version of WiMax (802.16-2004). That will have to wait for the year 2007, when the 802.16e or Mobile WiMax spec will be ready. 10.9 million subscribers will be using WiMax by 2009, they estimate, with the bulk using the fixed version. But mobile WiMax will take off between 2009 and 2012, assuming competing tech like HSDPA doesn't gain all the users first.

  • Cisco made it official today: Airespace is now part of Cisco's Wireless Networking Business Unit, where it will be used to expand the Structured Wireless-Aware Network (SWAN) solution portfolio.

  • If you're sick of your kids running up the cell phone bill with their constant text messaging, tell them to ZipIt. This Blackberry-like unit with full QWERTY keyboard for your thumbs is designed for doing instant messaging alone, but only on free Wi-Fi networks, both at home and at hotspots, eliminating any extra cost. Anyone with an AOL, MSN, or Yahoo instant messaging account can sign on with the $100 unit to start talking. Zipit Wireless Messenger is definitely geared toward your teen, however, as it comes in six colors, including the funky Inferno Red, Pink Ice, Ocean Blue and Mercury Silver. Still, there is a business-like Charcoal Black, and a white to match some Macintosh models.

  • SMC Networks will be providing wireless (and wired) networking equipment for Toshiba America Information Systems' Digital Solutions Division's (TAIS DSD) big push into voice over IP (VoIP). This strategic alliance puts the SMC equipment in service of the Toshiba Strata CIX IP telephony system.

  • In the expansion of its line of sub four pound 3LCD projectors, Epson said today that one unit, the $2,100 PowerLite 737c, will integrate 802.11g via a separate card, which is included. The unit, like its big sibling, the 745c with 11g, also supports WEP and WPA security along with LEAP-authentication, and offers direct support for Apple's Keynote and Microsoft's PowerPoint presentation software, as well as MPEG-2 video playback, even without a PC.

  • Meetinghouse has made the AEGIS 802.1X client for Windows XP/2000 ready to work on Novell NetWare networks. This means Novell clients can now use 802.1X authentication with wireless deployments. It lets 802.1X and WPA provide port access control to the Novell network, which in turn allows normal, single sign-on logins for wireless users. It requires use of Novell Client version SP1a or greater. AEGIS is available for a 30-day free trial.

  • Connexion by Boeing is going to sea. The hotspot solution used for in-flight Wi-Fi connections will be made available to the maritime market this fall. For $2,800 per boat per month, Connexion will install the equipment necessary to get vessels online for high-speed data at more than 5Mbps, will allow voice over IP, and will even do television (in 2006, Connexion customers will be able to get up to four channels of content). Every ship in a fleet can be managed together, and they can even share the bandwidth. Connexion says by next year it believes service will be available with 99 percent uptime for shipping vessels while on the water.

  • Proxim Corp. has released a starter kit for wireless ISPs. It consists of a ruggedized Tsunami MP.11 Model 5054-R point-to-multipoint Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) system, a "pre-WiMax" system for backhaul to six subscriber units (also included). The 5054-R can work with external antennas. The company will start selling on June 30 through partners around the world, with a starting price of $600 US.

  • Bluesocket says it has a new alliance with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) of San Diego for joint marketing of BlueSocket's secure WLAN gateways to the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Bluesocket was already a member of SAIC's Public Safety Integration Center for demonstrating equipment SAIC uses to customers like the government. SAIC is a systems integrator for both government and commercial customers.

  • Conexant is working with Interpeak to build support for IPv4 and IPv6 into the Conexant PRISM Wi-Fi chips, the GT (802.11g) and WorldRadio (802.11a/g). They say the dual-mode IPv4/v6 protocol stacks added on will allow "manufacturers to bring a new generation of embedded wireless devices... to market more quickly and cost-effectively." Interpeak has both a full-featured stack (IPNET) and a compact stack (IPLITE) for use with real-time embedded operating systems like Linux, INTEGRITY and OSE.

  • Atheros is no longer a pure-play Wi-Fi company. Today, it announced its first cellular chip for phones, the AR1900, which includes transceiver, baseband, application processor, power management and more, for mobile phones using the 1.9GHz TDMA-TDD-based Personal Handyphone System used in China, Japan and other countries.

    March 15-18, 2005

  • Colubris Networks, makers of Wi-Fi equipment used in hotspots (such as Connexion by Boeing's in-flight Wi-Fi), says it has broken through a bottleneck for VoWi-Fi. In a recent test, which it says was independently verified by both VeriWave and FarPoint Group, the company was able to simultaneously connect 16 Wi-Fi-based H.323 phone handsets from Spectralink to a Colubris CN1250 Secure Wireless Gateway. Previous tests by Network World apparently could not get more than 14 to work at the same time (which also used a CN1250, but with older firmware). It should be noted, though, that the phones weren't actually being used for calls, each was only about one meter away from the CN1250 in a controlled environment, and there was no data traffic on the hardware.

  • Netopia says its Wi-Fi gateways—used by resellers to turn businesses into hotspots—are now certified to work with wireless payment systems from VeriFone, specifically the Omni 3750 and Vx 610 wireless terminals. The units will read smart cards and credit cards to enable faster transactions for merchants using the Netopia gateways.
  • QRS Music Tech has released a tablet unit that can control its QRS Pianomation player piano systems using Wi-Fi. The 10-inch touchscreen Qtouch-Tablet uses 802.11g for controlling the digital playback features on the piano (with 2,400 songs), plus it will also surf the Web and check e-mail over a broadband connection.

    News in the world of WiMax:

  • Nortel Networks plans to work with LG Electronics on developing and marketing future WiMax products, mixing LG's experience with telecommunications and Nortel's OFDM/MIMO technology. They're skipping ahead to 802.16e, the mobile version of WiMax (initial WiMax products will support 802.16-2004). Products will trial before the end of this year.

  • Mesh Wi-Fi provider BelAir Networks has joined the WiMax Forum and says it will soon have an 802.16 module in its equipment, the BelAir200 routers and BelAir100 nodes. WiMax would be used for point-to-point backhaul on BelAir-based networks. The 802.16 tech will play a role in BelAir's new Wireless Multi-service Architecture (WMSA), covering use of Wi-Fi, WiMax and 3G for carriers.

  • Motorola is going to convert its Canopy wireless backhaul system into a WiMax-based system, but one running in the licensed 3.5GHz radio frequency band, which can be used outside of the United States. Standard 802.16-2004/WiMax will be running in unlicensed spectrum. The equipment should be ready early next year.

  • UK-based company Aspex Semiconductor has released a multi-antenna 802.16-2004/802.16e development kit. The kit includes a PCI-X card with the Aspex Linedancer processors, PHY layer software, and an integrated test-bench environment to validate WiMax features.

  • Athena Semiconductors is also getting into the WiMax business. It has two 802.16 integrated circuits ready under the ATS90xx family name, and more are planned. The company says its OptimRF technology allows it to "achieve breakthrough performance" in the CMOS production process, which they claim will make prices lower. The first chips will cover both the initial WiMax 5.725-5.85GHz frequencies and the Korean version, WiBro, which will run in the 2.3-2.4GHz band. Both are sampling and will be in volume by the second quarter.

    News in the world of VoIP/VoWi-Fi:

  • Kyocera Wireless is working with Boingo Wireless to develop a new phone handset that integrates Wi-Fi/3G cellular and will roam between the two kinds of wireless. The phone will use the roaming authentication engine that is found in Boingo's client software. No word on when this handset will be available.

  • Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands has available a chip reference design for handsets that would support phone access at Wi-Fi networks as well as on cellular services. The design includes Philips' low-power system-in-a-package for 802.11g, its Nexperia cellular system which supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE, and an Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) client (from Kineto Wireless) to facilitate moving between the two kinds of networks. Philips is working with Alcatel on testing this Nexperia UMA design with Alcatel's mobile call server.

  • IPWireless says its new pocket-sized Mobile Broadband Gateway integrates UMTS TDD, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, letting the user become their own hotspot as long as they are in range of a UMTS TDD network for backhaul. UMTS TDD, also known as TD-CDMA, is a packet-based, high-speed 3G tech for which IPWireless makes chips. Currently, such networks are deployed in several major countries. This gateway won't be sold directly to end users, but IPWireless will make it available to carriers in the second quarter of this year. It was designed by the TDD Design Center, a collaboration between IPWireless, Teleca and WSI.

  • Netgear is calling its new 108Mbps 802.11a/g ProSafe Dual Band Wireless Access Point (model: WAG302) "value-packed." The $445 unit packs in 802.11i/WPA2 security along with WEP up to 154-bit, 256-bit AES, 802.1X RADIUS support, TKIP for dynamic key assignment, MAC address filtering, rogue detection, and secure Web management interfaces (when not used with the SNMP-based ProSafe Network Management software). It uses Atheros Super G for a speed boost, coupled with AutoCell cognitive radio management for automatically configuring things like power output and channel selection—not to mention, it works with a number of high-gain antennas for both indoors and out. It also supports WDS for a bridge and repeater mode.

  • Communication Machinery Corporation (CMC) says its Emulation Engine XT products have been certified by the Conformite Europeene in the European Union, making the 802.11/WPA testing solution available to 28 EU countries. EE XTs can virtually emulate up to 64 Wi-Fi clients to test infrastructure equipment.

  • SonicWALL's TZ 150 Wireless is the company's first security-conscious access point for the SOHO market—10 users or less—that costs less than $500. The 802.11g-based unit does a deep packet inspection of all traffic (wireless and wired), can enforce use of encryption and VPNs, does intrusion prevention and rogue detection, and offers guest services for offices that need it. It can be managed locally or remotely. It includes 30-day trial subscriptions for anti-spyware, anti-virus, content filters and IDS, and includes five desktop-based anti-virus clients for end-users.

  • Nokia has joined the World Wide Spectrum Efficiency (WWiSE) consortium, throwing its weight in with the 13-company group vying for the support needed to become the specification for 802.11n, the future high-speed standard for Wi-Fi. It comes down to WWiSE vs. TGn Sync—the vote will take place sometime this week at the plenary meeting of the IEEE 802.11 Working Group in Atlanta. Because a 75 percent majority is needed for one to be chosen over the other, this may not be the final vote. The Working Group meets again in two months in Australia.

  • ZigBee on a PDA near you? Maybe, since C-guys of Japan has announced a design for a Secure Digital (SD) and SDIO card running the 802.15.4 standard with ZigBee protocols on top. The card can deliver a signal up to 10 meters. The company expects availability this month for a price of $100.

  • Smith Micro is releasing QuickLink Mobile Enterprise edition software next month. The software will make it easy for mobile employees with multiple wireless carrier accounts to switch their laptop PC Cards on the fly to get access to whatever type of wireless broadband they need, whether Wi-Fi, GPRS/EDGE, 1xRTT/EV-DO, or a combination. The software will also facilitate VPN tunnels back to a corporate network over any of these networks. It supports various EAP types for authentication (PEAP, MD5, TTLS, TLS) and WPA/WPA2 for encryption. The software talks to the QuickLink Server, installed at a corporation headquarters, as well.

  • Airmagnet's new Enterprise 5.1 features an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) with improved integration for Cisco's Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE) v2.9 and Cisco's Remote Data Exchange Protocol (RDEP) security protocol. Plus it can block laptops running in ad hoc mode, and now has sensors with replaceable antennas so customers can put on high-gain antennas to get extra or directional coverage. Enterprise starts at $8,995 for server and console software and four sensors.

  • DPAC Technologies, which makes embedded Wi-Fi solutions for OEMs, says its products will now support Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) for encryption, and the LEAP type for 802.1X authentication. The products include an 802.11b module for dropping into access points, an 11b Ethernet bridge module for companies that want wireless-to-wired products, and an 11b serial bridge module to do the same for RS232/422/485 interfaces.

  • Chipmaker Broadcom is licensing use of Meetinghouse's AEGIS 802.1X client API, to build the authentication abilities into its wireless client software. In turn, Broadcom can give OEMs an easy way to add such security to their equipment.

    March 7-11, 2005

  • Slim Devices has announced the second generation of its networked audio player, the SqueezeBox 2. The new unit features a new digital-to-analog converter for better sound, animated visualizations that run on a new higher-resolution screen (320x32), new colors (black and platinum), support for more lossless formats of audio, and wireless. Not only does it support 802.11g, but it can also work as a wireless bridge, extending wireless connections to distant parts of the house. The wireless version is $300, the wired version is $250. Both will be available March 31.

  • WiMax direct to the PC? Maybe it'll be here sooner than expected, if Airspan Networks has its way. The company says it has the "first self-installable indoor WiMAX products" so client devices can connect directly to a carrier network, bypassing the LAN or WLAN altogether. This includes products for standard Internet access and some for voice over IP (VoIP). The products include the Intel "Rosedale"-based EastST for connecting client devices— which doubles as a Wi-Fi access point—and the ProST CPE for larger or outdoor deployments. Each should connect to WiMax base stations, when such "802.16 standards-based" products start shipping, maybe later this year. Both products are lumped under the somewhat unfortunate family name of AS.MAX (kids can be so cruel). AS.MAX products will be in trials through the second quarter of the year. Airspan also offers point-to-multipoint and point-to-point base stations.

  • ABI Research says the early bird gets the MIMO worm: by virtue of being first to market with products using the 'multiple-in, multiple-out' technology for wireless, Airgo has surged ahead of competitors like Atheros and Video54 with competing (albeit technically different) MIMO solutions. Airgo customers include Belkin, Buffalo, Linksys, Netgear, Planex Communications, Smartvue, and SOHOware.

    ABI is also reporting that "the number of radios in the cell phone is set to rise exponentially" soon. Instead of just GPRS, EDGE, and UMTS cellular, with some Bluetooth on the side for synching and using a headset, the researchers say it will soon have GPS for location services, various versions of Wi-Fi and even WiMax for doing VoIP, FM radio and/or satellite radio, ultrawideband (UWB), RFID, and even ZigBee so you can use the phone to turn off your lights.

  • VoIP/VoWiFi provider BroadVoice says it will start offering the Wi-Fi-based phone from UTStarcom, the F1000, as its handset of choice. The SIP-supporting F1000 can reportedly handle 80 hours of standby time, with 3-4 hours of talk time. BroadVoice offers unlimited calls through Wi-Fi connections for $10 a month domestically, $20 to 20 other countries, and $25 for 35 countries in total.

  • Alvarion is now offering a new smaller (micro) base station as part of its so-called "pre-WiMax" platform, BreezeMAX. The unit runs in the 3.5GHz radio frequency, and comes as a standalone rack-mountable module that connects to an outdoor radio—the target market for this is low-density rural areas.

  • Spectralink says its 802.11b-based NetLink Wireless Telephones are now compatible with Inter-Tel's Axxess Converged Communications Platform, which uses Session Initiation Protocal (SIP) to power voice over IP in enterprises.

  • Speaking of phones—what could be worse than bringing home a Wi-Fi phone handset and not being able to get it to work with your router's security settings? Broadcom is worried about that, too, so they're starting to offer Wi-Fi handset makers a reference design that builds in the SecureEasySetup software. With it installed (and with a SecureEasySetup-supporting router), the security settings can be configured with a single push of a button. Linksys and HP have both signed on to support the technology, agreeing to include it in HP notebooks and networked printers of the future. The phone reference design includes a Broadcom VoIP processor and an AirForce 54g chip.

  • Juniper Networks has added Wi-Fi to a new security appliance for 10-person or larger remote offices, the NetScreen-5GT Wireless firewall and virtual private network (VPN) (courtesy of an 802.11g chip from Atheros ). The unit includes Stateful and Deep Inspection firewalls, denial-of-service protection, anti-virus, and, of course, secure wireless connections (using AES encryption under WPA2/802.11i).

  • Net2Phone is making its $175 VoiceLine XJ100 Wi-Fi Handset available to all comers. It can be used at any open hotspot or Wi-Fi network. The user has to pick a VoiceLine broadband telephony service plan from Net2Phone, which starts at $9 a month for 300 minutes per month to call anyone in the U.S or Canada, and goes up as you add minutes or access to overseas locations (inbound calls, however, you don't have to pay for). The quarter-pound XJ100 phone is automatically updated with new software without user intervention, comes with a power adapter suitable for multiple countries, and can handle storage of profiles for quick access at multiple Wi-Fi locations. It also does what you'd expect: caller ID, call blocking, voice mail, call forwarding and call return. The next generation XJ200 should be out later this summer.

  • Interpeak says its embedded 802.1X Supplicant (client) software will be available in the second quarter of this year. The software will allow products with it embedded to authenticate to WLANs using EAP-PEAP, EAP-TLS and EAP-MD5 protocols. It will run on real-time operating systems like Linux, INTEGRITY, VxWorks and others.

  • Roving Planet has upgraded its Central Site Director (CSD) platform for wireless network management to version 2.9. New to this version are group-based security policies, which can be used to make entire categories of users controlled and filtered as needed (for example, only letting a certain department go to a certain Web page—it can redirect others to a new URL if needed). The interface has also been upgraded for "more intuitive navigation," according to the company. There's more detail about user connections, charts of the use of the Internet, a health monitor, and more. The company has trademarked the term Simple SignOn to signify its simplified user authentication process when logging into a system using RADIUS, LDAP or Active Directory lists—they only need to put in a username the first time (at least until an expiration date, pre-configured by the admin, passes).

  • Linksys has a new small router out, suitable for travel. The Compact Wireless-G Broadband router (model WRT54GC) builds in the router and 802.11b/g access point, as well as a 4-port 10/100 Ethernet switch. Security-wise, it supports WPA/WPA2 Personal and MAC address filtering, and has an SPI firewall. VPN tunnels can pass through. It even features an SMA connector, allowing a user to put on a different high-gain antenna to replace the internal antenna. The box is less than four inches square and less than one inch thick—and will cost $80.

  • Ecora Software of Portsmouth, N.H., today made available a new Web-based software product called Dr. Wi-Fi, which will "continuously monitor network environments" to provide real-time reports and alerts (via SMTP, pager or e-mail) based on performance data collected from access points, clients, and even servers. The software is $2,995 but Ecora offers a 30-day trial for free.

  • Wi-Fi chipmaker Broadcom is buying Zeevo of Santa Clara, Calif., which makes software and chips used in Bluetooth wireless headsets (of which 90 million will be sold by 2008, according to In-Stat/MDR). Broadcom already sells Bluetooth chips for phones and for use in PCs.

  • Embedded software maker Green Hills Software of San Francisco is now offering a complete Wi-Fi platform for device makers looking to get to market faster. The platform includes TCP/IP stacks (both IPv4 and IPv6, or dual) and can be coupled with the Green Hills royalty-free embedded operating system or microkernel. A higher end, memory-protected real-time OS for high security devices is also available. This initial version of the platform will run on a Conexant PRISM 802.11a/b/g chipset and an Intel XScale processor, but a software-only version is available to those with custom hardware. Security includes WEP and WPA-PSK encryption and EAP-TLS, PEAP, and MD5 authentication. Basic pricing starts at $5,000, and the reference hardware will be available for $1,500 starting this April.

    March 1-4, 2005

  • Voice over IP company Ecuity is teaming up with SIP-phone manufacturer Azatel in a pilot using the AZA-WIP handset device with Ecuity's V-Tone Office service to provide VoWi-Fi for businesses—even for employees visiting public hotspots. The small AZA-WIP features a color screen and lots of extras.

  • This week, real-time location system provider Ekahau unveiled its new edition of its Ekahau Positioning Engine (EPE), version 3.1, as well as new Wi-Fi tracking tags (model T201). EPE now can run on a multi-processor system for better performance, and will work better tracking items in multi-level buildings or across an entire campus. The T201 tag is smaller than its precursor, and boasts longer battery life. The unit now can be configured over the network, has a built-in buzzer to make it easier to find, and includes a call button so it can easily be set or taken off-line.

  • Kineto said yesterday that its technology supporting Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA), which allows handoff between Wi-Fi and GSM cellular wireless phone calls, is certified to interoperate with the switch products of Airespace, which is soon to be owned lock-stock-and-antennas by Cisco Systems . This isn't a software deal, as UMA is not built into Airespace products, but shows that it will work with UMA clients—which is usually the market for Kineto's software. This is the first test of UMA for enterprise class solutions, which Steve Shaw, the director of marketing, says is huge because "there's a tremendous amount of pent-up demand in the enterprise for this."

  • AutoCell Laboratories—formerly Propagate Networks—today announced JustAddAutoCell, which integrates the company's cognitive radio technology for controlling WLAN equipment radio frequency (RF) settings like power output and channel into an RF embedded software suite and Software Development Kit (SDK). This is all in hopes of making AutoCell even more attractive to hardware vendors —specifically, many of the major "legacy" wired switch vendors that are wondering if they should buy a competing WLAN switch like Cisco did, or if they should build their own. In JustAddAutoCell, vendors will get a copy of the APIs for development and testing, AutoCell View (the network management system that keeps an eye on what the equipment is doing and when), and the full AutoCell Enterprise firmware for access points.

  • Korea's NURI Telecom is launching into the United States market for the first time with an automatic meter-reading (AMR) product that will use ZigBee wireless technology based on chips from Ember. The product will likely be used by public utilities to eliminate the need for actual people to read meters. ZigBee wireless is a mesh-based home control standard that is coming soon, so the NURI AMR system will become part of that. The AMR is already being used in digital home pilots in Korea. NURI also sells a ZigBee communications module for use by OEMs.

  • Wi-Fi and wired network softphone maker TeleSym is partnering with Active Voice of Australia, which will make enterprise VoIP mobile phones using TeleSym's SymPhone product. Previous versions of SymPhone would work only on laptops, PDAs and the like, which connected back to a PBX (analog or digital) using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).

  • RF Micro Devices said yesterday that it is getting out of the WLAN chip business. The company says it "will continue to support its WLAN component business," including gaming transceivers and power amplifiers. Full story is coming.

  • TeliaSonera customers in Norway, Sweden and Finland will soon be able to choose cards from Option N.V. for their laptops to keep them fully connected. Specifically, using Option's GlobeTrotter FUSION, users can move from a 3G network getting 385Kbps speeds to the full speed of a Wi-Fi hotspot, or still get connectivity under GPRS. Same with the GlobeTrotter EDGE, which allows roaming from 247Kbps EDGE networks to Wi-Fi and back (and GPRS if neither is available).

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