Wi-Fi Product Watch: April 2005
April 30, 2005
Wi-Fi for gambling; Buffalo tries MIMO; Aruba goes outdoors; and more.
April 25-29, 2005
April 18-22, 2005
and chipmaker Wavesat plan to demonstrate that E1/T1 services can be carried over a WiMax connection. This will happen with Wavesat's announced 802.16 chip, the DM256, combined with Zarlink's CESoP processor to convert circuit-switched traffic to Ethernet packets that cross the network connection. —April 20, 2005
Paris-based Celtrio has released its Wi-Fi site survey and coverage mapping software, Covera Zone. It features a quick survey feature (with GPS support for surveys outdoors), data visualization for coverage planning, and reports with maps. It runs on Windows XP and costs $594 US. A free trial is available for download. —April 20, 2005 Luxembourg-based MACH is prepared to offer GSM operators a clearinghouse for Wi-Fi hotspot roaming that would include billing and settlement of payment. They would do this through RoamPoint, the authentication service behind the UK hotspot network called The Cloud. Essentially, MACH would handle GSM operators, RoamPoint would handle WLAN operators as the main connection point, and the two would integrate. (Also, RoamPoint says it has acquired the Excilan roaming platform, which allows users to pay for hotspot access via their cell phone accounts, authenticating with a phone call. Excilan filed for bankruptcy last week.) —April 20, 2005 Cambridge Silicon Radio, or CSR to its friends, will be demonstrating its first single-chip for Wi-Fi, the UniFi-1, this week at the Wireless LAN Event in London. The chip is mounted in an SDIO card inside a smartphone, and also in a CardBus card in a laptop. They're showing it off using Skype to make wireless VoIP phone calls from PDA to PC. The smartphone will also be using a Bluetooth headset to show the lack of interference between the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. —April 20, 2005 Cirond says it can put a stop to "wi-Phishing" (its term for attacks such as the "evil twin") with a new set of products it is announcing this week in London. Among them are the AirSafe Enterprise, a Windows-based untility for letting IT control how/when/where/if users get on a wireless network. It is made up of the AirPatrol Enterprise Controller appliance, which contains all the network security and management tools needed, such as the AirPatrol Central Console software and Remote Viewer. These new products should be available by the end of the month through Cirond's VAR network. —April 20, 2005 NextWeb and CommPartners say they're launching the largest deployment of VoIP service using wireless, specifically over pre-WiMax connections run by NextWeb in California. CommPartners, which does privately-branded VoIP service around the country, will offer service over the NextWeb network to 500,000 potential small to medium business customers. The service is currently beta testing and should roll out next month. SMBs can get it as a standalone, or bundled with data broadband to lower costs. Services would include extension dialing for a business, even if the phones are not in the same office or building, plus the usual call waiting, voice-mail, caller ID, and forwarding of calls. —April 20, 2005 Zensys has released the second generation of its Z-Wave chip, a wireless mesh chip with extremely low power that competes with ZigBee for home and office controls of things like lights, thermostats, door openers, etc. The new System-on-Chip (SoC) integrates the wireless, controller and memory (Flash and SRAM). The price is cut down to $3 per unit for quantities of 100,000 or more. —April 19, 2005 The World Wide Spectrum Efficiency (WWiSE) consortium, one of the two groups fighting for control of the future 802.11n standard (and so far, on the losing side of votes in the IEEE's 11n Task Group), has added new members to bring the total to 17 companies. Joiners are France Telecom, ITRI (Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan), and NTT of Japan. Even though the last vote favored the other guys, TGn Sync, WWiSE says it is still working "to build momentum for its proposal, which remains a contender for adoption by the IEEE." —April 19, 2005 Airspan Network's EasyST customer premises equipment (CPE) was another of the many pre-WiMax products on hand at the launch of Intel's first WiMax SoC. The EasyST also incorporates an 802.11 access point, giving end users the local network and backhaul all in one package. —April 19, 2005 Game maker Nintendo has entered a partnership with Broadcomto get wireless chips for future gaming systems, specifically the console currently code-named "Revolution." They say the console will have an "advanced wireless platform that integrates multiple technologies to enable a new and exciting game experience." —April 19, 2005 The UK's Telabria has a new mSystem AP-3G unit for hotspots, which combines an 802.11a/g access point with 3G data service. The Wi-Fi connects to the clients, and the 3G/GPRS is used for backhaul. The backhaul requires a 3G data card, and the AP-3G currently supports Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile, and Orange. The unit is designed for to be portable (it only weighs three pounds), and for use where other broadband is not available. The #849 AP-3G will also auto-detect Telabria's other metro-scale mesh equipment, and use that for backhaul if available. It supports WPA with AES encryption and RADIUS authentication, and has a rechargeable battery inside, as well as the option of external power. An Ethernet connector allows use of external devices, such as IP cameras. —April 19, 2005 LucidLink is now offering its three-person Home Office Edition for free. The software runs on a local Windows XP or 2000 system to create an instant RADIUS server for securely authenticating users on a WLAN. The move to free (the software was $99 for three users before) is intended to raise awareness of security issues like unauthorized users—and, of course, to get people hooked into buying versions for more users as their businesses expand. —April 18, 2005 AirMagnet's Laptop Analyzer product is now in version 5.0. The new edition (which costs $3,495) features more advanced tools for testing the quality of Voice over WLAN (including new alarms coveriong 802.11e/Quality of Service abilities on the network), as well as more reporting templates that target federal regulations. Custom reports can now be generated against whatever parameters the end user wants, or to ensure compatibility with regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, or requirements of the Department of Defense. The company is also rolling out the 5.0 version of its Handheld Analyzer for Pocket PC ($2,995), as well as version 2.5 of Airmagnet Surveyor ($1,995) and of Surveyor Pro ($3,195). —April 18, 2005 The Intel WiMax chips are ready, and here come the product announcements:
- Redline Communications is unveiling its official WiMax product line, the RedMAX family, which will go to the WiMax Forum for certification in July. The products will consist of a base station (plus a backhaul-specific version), subscriber units for indoors and out, and a network management system called RedMAX NMS.
- Alvarion is part of the Intel launch event, showing its customer premises equipment (CPE), the BreezeMax 3500, now fully equipped with the Intel PRO/Wireless 5116 WiMax broadband chip.
- Aperto Networks is putting the 5116 and the accompanying System-on-Chip (SoC) architecture into its own CPEs as well. The company is also part of the new Intel WiMax launch. —April 18, 2005
April 11-15, 2005
Sputnik has a new access point, the $400 AP 250, with dual radios and extended range. It's preconfigured as a bridge/repeater for use with other Sputnik APs to spread a signal over several miles. The radios both use 200 mW output to extend range even more, and can also be paired with separate antennas. It comes in a ruggedized housing,, and uses Power over Ethernet (PoE) to get juice when no AC is available. Like other Sputnik devices, it's run using the Sputnik Control Center management software, which runs on Intel-based servers. A complete Hotzone kit from Sputnik with AP 250, another access point, and the Control Center costs $700.—April 14, 2005 Europe's Gemtek Systems also has a new line of products for public access use by providers. Its Hot-Spot-in-a-Box P-565 combines an AP supporting 802.11a/b/g, access controller, IP router, VPN gateway and a 4-port Ethernet switch in one box, which can be remotely controlled by the Gemtek Management System. The P-565 will handle up to 250 users on 16 VLAN segments. Another new product, the P-785, is for backbone infrastructure outside. It has dual radios and comes with PoE support. Both are part of what Gemtek calls the Synergy product line, which should be available in July.—April 14, 2005 Hawking Technologies claims that its $100 Hi-Gain Wireless-G Range Extender (model HWUR54G) is compatible with "all" wireless access points (because they say it will work with all existing chipsets and eschews use of Wireless Distribution System or WDS), though it's limited to 802.11b/g. It retransmits signals from an 11b/g AP at a higher rate to double the range of a network, if placed halfway between the AP and the end of its coverage area.—April 14, 2005 Vendors looking to test more than Wi-Fi can now turn to the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL). Rohde & Schwarz have donated a signal analyzer and victor signal generator to the lab to allow them to start testing Bluetooth, ZigBee and WiMax. The new equipment also lets them start testing 802.11a products in the 4.9 to 5GHz range.—April 14, 2005 Via Licensing, which last year created a "patent pool" for one-stop shopping for Wi-Fi license holders, today said it was making available a "joint patent license for patents that are essential for implementation of the IEEE 802.11 family of standards." It waives royalties allegedly due before the end of 2004 for any vendor that signs up by June 17, 2005. Patents that it says are essential to 802.11 and that Via controls are owned by France Telecom, Fujitsu, Japan Radio Company, Koninklijke Philips Electronics, and Sony.—April 14, 2005 HotspotVPN, a service to connect you securely to the Internet when you're using a hotspot, has upgraded to version 2 (called HotSpotVPN2). With that comes secure socket layer (SSL) support with 256-bit AES for $13.88 a month, 192-bit AES for $11.88 per month, or 128-bit Blowfish encryption for $10.88 per month. Users need to download the OpenVPN client, which they say takes only 40 seconds to set up. SSL support puts the previously PPTP-only HotSpotVPN2 in closer competition with the new SSL-based personalVPN from WiTopia. The company says HotSpotVPN is also more flexible because users can make a choice of ports/protocols to use, and can even tune the VPN for VoIP use with services like Skype. —April 13, 2005 Roving Planet's new AP Commander software lets IT do upgrades and configuration of access points from a single, centralized console. APs supported include those from Cisco, Avaya, Proxim, and 3Com. The software finds all the APs on the network automatically and will prevent unauthorized changes to them, keeping them in line with company policies. The software will integrate with other Roving Planet products as well. —April 12, 2005 ZigBee has arrived. The ZigBee Alliance industry group behind the new technology for wireless home and office automation has certified four companies' chipsets as compliant. The vendors are Freescale Semiconductor, Chipcon's Figure 8 Wireless, CompXs, and Ember. Next, the chips go into products, which also have to be tested and get a ZigBee stamp of certification for interoperability. —April 12, 2005 eEye Digital Security has released software for Windows and PocketPC called eEye Retina WiFi Scanner to detect the presence of wireless devices and generate reports on their activity. The software (in English and Japanese) is free to download if you register with eEye. —April 12, 2005 Wireless Valley, makers of site survey software like SitePlanner and LANPlanner, has received a patent for "creating a computer model and measurement database of a wireless communication network." The capabilities described are built into the company's infielder measurement module. That's a U.S. Patent—but the company also got an Australian patent on an "automated method for quickly generating a complete bill of materials and cost information for a wireless network design." —April 12, 2005 Newcomer to the WLAN switch market Xirrus has launched a PartnerAdvantage Program to line up new channel partners for sales, marketing and support of its WLAN Array architecture. This will be the exclusive way for customers to get the new products. The program will provide partners with training, both on-demand and on-site, as needed. D&H Distributing was the first to sign up. —April 12, 2005 Always On Wireless, makers of the pocket-sized WiFlyer router/access point that specifically is made to work with dial-up Internet access (or with broadband via an Ethernet port), has added support for the various services of United Online—namely, NetZero, Juno and BlueLight. With the $150 unit, subscribers to these services can add wireless Internet access to their home or use it while on the road. Existing WiFlyer units can support the services after a firmware upgrade. The product is already compatible with AOL, MSN and EarthLink dialup. The user interface also has an upgrade so the WiFlyer can be controlled by Pocket PC-based PDAs, not just Windows computers. —April 12, 2005 Funk Software's new supplicant, Odyssey Client 4.0, is ready—and it's now got full support for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2), the version of the 802.11i specification with AES encryption as tested by the Wi-Fi Alliance. They've also added the latest and greatest Extensible Authentication Protocols to the mix: EAP-SIM (used by GSM operators for phone connections) and EAP-FAST (which was created by Cisco to fix problems with the existing LEAP protocol). The software costs $50 per machine, with discounts for volume. —April 12, 2005 Pegasus Wireless—formerly OTC Wireless—has added support for Apple Macintosh computers to its WiJET.G and WiJET.video products, which allow remote display on video devices like projectors and flat panels, with no cables required. There's also now a moderator function, so multiple computers can be called on as needed to send their screen images to the product for display to a larger group. The WiJET operating software can be downloaded from the product directly now— there's no need to go online or to pre-install software to get up and running. —April 12, 2005 AirWave Wireless announced today that its WLAN management platform, now in version 3.3, is set to work with Cisco'sAirespace Wireless LAN Controllers and APs. The system will work also with Cisco's Aironet APs (and has for a while), so it can control a mix of intelligent APs (Aironets) and thin APs (the Airespace units) as they appear in enterprises. The company says it added the support in response to customer demand. 3.3 also supports APs from HP, Symbol, Proxim, Enterasys, Avaya, Colubris Networks, Nomadix, LANCOM, and Apple. —April 11, 2005 Check Point Software is releasing a hardware appliance series for wireless security in remote locations. The VPN-1 Edge W series is a wireless AP that supports 802.11b/g and does Atheros eXtended Range and Super G up to 108Mbps. The $800 unit provides firewall isolation to keep wireless and wired users, as well as guest users, separate. It even includes a built-in USB 2.0 print server.—April 11, 2005 Netgear'slatest: a 54 Mbps Wireless Print Server with 4-Port Switch (model WGPS606) for $100 retail. It has 2 USB ports for hooking up printers, plus full 10/100 Ethernet switch. It works as an 802.11b/g wireless-to-Ethernet bridge as well. It comes with wizard software for quick setup, and can support security up to WPA with PreShared Key (PSK). The unit also works with the new RangeMax series of products. —April 11, 2005
April 1-8, 2005
Inscape Data's new AirGoggle surveillance camera (model NVC110W) is a "high power" unit with a 200mWa 802.11b wireless transmitter for better distance with its 5dBi antenna (it also can use a separate higher-gain directional antenna). The camera will work with the Inscape AirGoggle pan/tilt/zoom modules, including a motorized zoom lens. Navini Networks said at the WiMax Summit in Paris today that it is going to start shipping a PC Card that will work in the 3.5GHz radio frequency band. The company says this spectrum is "key to the broad development and acceptance of mobile broadband wireless." Navini has, of course, already deployed many broadband wireless networks using this spectrum (as well as unlicensed 2.4GHz) including a new one in Tanzania near Mt. Kilimanjaro from carrier Benson Online. ZyXEL—which is now selling products in CompUSA—has a new line of residential home gateway products coming. The line includes the Prestige 974SW, a DOCSIS 2.0/CableHome 1.1 compliant cable modem as well as router, wired switch, and 802.11b/g access point. It will ship sometime in the next three months. Canada's PrinterOn is now offering a Campus Printing System that it says is ready for use by schools with 802.11 networks, so any student can automatically discover a printer and send a job to it, without needing any print dirvers installed on the client system if printed over the Web (they also have a universal Windows driver for all printers). Schools currently using it include Queens University in Ontario, Pepperdine Law in London, and Georgia Perimeter Institute. PCI Express will be the next generation of motherboard bus with super high speeds. Broadcomsaid this week that it is sampling a 54g Wi-Fi chipset (BCM4311) ready to work with PCIe at speeds of one gigabyte of data per second, all to improve overall throughput. Because it is from Broadcom, it will also support all the company's proprietary Wi-Fi bells and whistles, from BroadRange to SecureEasySetup to 125Mbps High Speed Mode. LucidLink, the software for easily setting up 802.1X authentication in your small business, now offers free client software for Windows XP and 2000 users. Previously, clients just used the 802.1X built into those operating systems, but the new wireless client will automatically detect network settings and (unlike Windows) won't connect to a network with the same name but different settings. It's useful even for those without LucidLink installed for authentication, but with it, the user can try for network access without entering a username or password. The client will come with version 2.2 of LucidLink, which is $450 for ten users. SMC Networks has announced the EZ-Stream 2.4GHz Wireless Multimedia Extender (SMCWME-G), an entertainment receiver for streaming audio, video and pictures from your PC network to your home entertainment center (i.e., the TV and stereo). It supports 802.11g, Ethernet, and the Intel Networked Media Product Requirements (NMPR). No price is set yet. The new Senforce Connectivity Control is "location-aware endpoint security enforcement" software. It specifically targets the government use of wireless clients, making sure those systems remain compliant with policies such as DoD Directive 8100.2, which specifically covers wireless clients. It will kick off or disable such actions as network adapter bridging, turns off wireless when a client connects via Ethernet, prevents ad hoc connections, and forces use of WEP or WPA on all connections. The software is only $70. Columbitech of Sweden says its Wireless VPN is now in the process of being certified by the NIAP Common Criteria, on top of its FIPS 140-2 certification. Common Criteria is an evaluation created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Security Agency (NSA)—which all means it's good for government use. 3e Technologies International (3eTI)'s AirGuard video surveillance products are now commercially available. The two existing products—the 525V Wireless Video Server and the much larger, multi-port 528 version—are both in use by the Marines (including Camp Fallujah, Iraq) and the Navy. The 528 can run four analog cameras, and acts as a wireless bridge to other video servers like the 525V, which supports one analog camera and wireless bridge. Both ruggedized products have dual radios which can serve as 11b hotspots and will support mesh networking. They meet the FIPS 140-2 guidelines for government use.