Wi-Fi Product Watch: May 2005

By Wi-Fi Planet Staff

May 31, 2005

Atheros makes JumpStart security available to anyone; new WiPhishing scam; Broadcom sues Qualcomm; 5G tries 'cellular' approach; and more.

  • 5G Wireless Solutions says its Cellular Approach base stations for Wi-Fi are designed for campus networks and hotzones that need extra coverage. The products use an antenna array similar to that of a cell tower to cover a large geographic area by segmenting it into 120 degree sectors. The company claims it can get distances of 4 kilometers in 11b mode, and 1.5 kilometers in 11g mode. The base stations are designed to be deployed right alongside cellular wireless equipment on buildings or towers. Backhaul is handled in the 5.3 to 5.8 GHz radio range. The products should be available in the third quarter. —May 31, 2005

  • Artimi says it has received its first ultrawideband (UWB) single-chip design from its foundry, and the chip, the RTMI-100, will soon be sampling with customers. The chip is designed both in CMOS (the digital portion) and SiGe (the high frequency part). It includes the MAC, PHY, radio and an input/output processor all in one system-on-chip (SoC). —May 31, 2005

  • Vendors looking to make secure wireless gateways, Cavium Networks has some reference designs for you. One will include the Airgo Networks True MIMO chipset, while the other has the Atheros AR5004X 802.11a/g dual-band chipset, but both will run the Cavium NITROX Soho MIPS32 processor. The NITROX handles security features like IPsec and SSL encryption for virtual private networks (VPNs). Each comes with all the Linux-based software needed to run the gateway in a developer's kit. —May 31, 2005

    May 23-27, 2005

  • A startup out of Sweden named Nanoradio has raised $9 million to start making new 802.11b/g chip system packages that would be "the world's smallest and lowest power WLAN chipset," obviously targeting the cell phone/handset/consumer electronics markets. They expect to be sampling chips by the fall, and shipping in volume in 2006. —May 27, 2005

  • Unstrung.com is reporting today on rumors that Proxim —formerly amid the top three vendors of enterprise WLAN equipment—may be announcing today either that it is going to be sold, or that it may file for bankruptcy. Proxim told Wi-Fi Planet it will not make comments until details are ironed out, but didn't deny that things are looking grim. The company owes millions to investors, as well as $22 million to Symbol for a lawsuit it lost last year. —May 27, 2005

  • According to an article in the New Zealand Herald, IP soft-phone maker Skype is claiming that by the end of this year it will launch a "dedicated Wi-Fi phone." The company will likely sell them through the Skype Web site. Skype is still planning to launch versions of its software to run on Symbian and Windows Mobile operating systems. Also coming: software for videoconferencing. —May 27, 2005

  • Finland's Radionet says by building OSPF (open shortest path first) routing into its products, it has brought mesh-based dynamic routing and fault tolerance to wireless hotzones. OSPF is now a feature of all of its router/link products—the RN-700, 800, and 900 series. The company also has a new High Availability Network Controller product to provide centralized subscriber/user management on a network; use two of them for fail-over redundancy. —May 27, 2005
  • AirTight Networks is offering a wireless threat assessment service, with no obligation. The Wireless Threat Vulnerability Analysis will be free for enterprises, and will be performed by engineers from the company or its channel partners. It will supposedly spot everything from rogue clients and APs to ad hoc networks to Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and more, and it will simulate them (plus Evil Twins, Man-in-the-Middle attacks and others) to see how the network responds. AirTight will provide the enterprise with a report on what's wrong in their network, and probably won't mind a bit if the enterprise then decides to buy its SpectraGuard Enterprise 3.0 Intrusion Protection Service (IPS) Firewall to fix everything.—May 26, 2005

  • FiberLink's Extend360 client software—used for connecting to all sorts of networks, wired and wireless (including Wi-Fi and EV-DO), by the employees of Fiberlink's corporate customers—is now available on Pocket PCs. It runs on Windows Mobile 2003, and Fiberlink expects to support the recently-announced Windows Mobile 5.0 when products running it come to market. —May 26, 2005

  • Did you not get a chance to try LucidLink Wireless Security software for free? The deadline to try the three-person Home Office Edition without paying $99 was supposed to be April 18. Lucky for you, the company has a soft heart and is going to extend the freebie deadline until the end of this year. Versions for supporting more than three users, though, will still cost you.—May 24, 2005

  • The Wireless USB Promoter Group has released the spec for Wireless USB, which will be based on MB-OFDM ultrawideband (UWB) technology from WiMedia Alliance. Speed is expected to be the equivalent of today's wired Hi-Speed USB, which is 480Mbps, and will decrease to 110Mbps as devices get up to 10 meters apart. Agere, HP, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, Philips and Samsung are all part of the Promoter Group, and helped define the specification that will be used by 100 contributing members. —May 24, 2005

  • A new product using Airgo Network's TRUE MIMO chips: SOHOware is building the technology into its AeroGuard products that will be resold by International Police Technologies of Tulsa, Okla., specifically for use in wireless surveillance. The units will feature not just MIMO speeds around 40Mbps in real-world use, but will also have WLAN switch software to create centralized security policies and controls. They can also be used to make a wireless bridge to vehicles with an AeroGuard inside, creating automatic connections for uploading or downloading data so officers won't have to initiate a connection. —May 24, 2005

  • Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) Accton Technology of Taiwan has designed a wireless LAN mesh networking line of products, using an architecture it calls WITnet (Wireless Intelligent Network). The technology will be available to Accton's customers to build into products as soon as the third quarter of this year. The company says it is involved in the development of the 802.11s spec for mesh networking with the IEEE, and will make sure the WITnet products conform to it. 802.11s is still in the very early stages, and will likely not be ready for years. The company also holds three pending patents "that improve the efficiency, resilience, and security of wireless mesh networks," according to a statement. —May 24, 2005

  • Waiter, there's some Wi-Fi in my soup: Wireless Logix Group's Reach POS application is designed for use by food service staff using PDAs to track orders. Wait staff clicks on icons and generates the bill on the PDA—the Wi-Fi connection sends the food order to the kitchen and bar faster than you can burn toast. It can even be used for drive-thru lanes. —May 24, 2005

  • Ember says it has an entry-level development toolkit for vendors that want to make products supporting ZigBee, the wireless mesh control system. Called the JumpStart Developer Kit, it's intended to speed up the time to market for the low-power products and applications needed for ZigBee to be effective in running all the appliances, lights, doors, etc. in a home or on up to a warehouse. It includes six boards, a serial cable, and the antennas and batteries, all running on the EmberNet ZigBee protocol stack, which includes an API for writing applications. The $5,000 JumpStart kit only has a 30-day license for compiling applications, though—after that, you have to upgrade to the full developer's kit, which presumably costs a lot more. —May 24, 2005

  • WiMax news: New members of the WiMax Forum —the consortium of companies backing the high-speed fixed wireless standard based on 802.16-2004—include Altera Corp of San Jose, Calif. and SkyPilot Networks of nearby Santa Clara.

    TeraBeam Wireless says it will be making WiMax products based on Fujitsu Microelectronics America's system-on-a-chip. The TeraMax 3.0 product family will use Terabeam's own network management operating system—codenamed "Logan"—and should be ready by the fourth quarter of this year.

    Speaking of WiMax, research firm Strategy Analytics says the market for the subscriber terminals and base stations that will connect the tech will reach 20 million units by 2009. —May 24, 2005

  • How did we miss this? Canadian 802.11a chip vendor IceFyre has gone under, according to reports from newspapers in Ottawa. The Ottawa Business Journal says it contacted the company months ago about layoffs, and followed up last week with a story about the four year old company having major growing pains, including lawsuits and a lack of customers. When last heard from, the company was showing off wireless HDTV streams at the CES show in January, but investors pulled out, and a deal to sell out to Rambus fell apart, causing the doors to shut. —May 24, 2005

  • Utimaco Safeware AG of Europe has a deal with iPass —the IT security provider will be building the iPass endpoint policy management technology into its own SafeGuard encryption products, so it can provide centralized policy management to remote or mobile devices. —May 24, 2005

  • SMC Networks today announced a couple of new products for extending Wi-Fi networks. First is a new $500 EliteConnect 2.4GHz 500mW Power over Ethernet (PoE) Amplifier (model: SMCAMP-500G) for use with SMC's 802.11b/g enterprise products. Second is an $85 EliteConnect Wireless High Gain 5 dBi Omni-Directional Antenna (model: SMCANT-OOM5P), meant for indoor deployments. The company also now offers a NEMA 3 weatherproof enclosure for $120, to be used for mounting its access points and bridges outside.—May 23, 2005

  • PRISMIQ is in the access point business now. Last week, it announced its Commander Wireless Router, which comes with Internet Warning and Control Software (IWACS). The $80 product will monitor and block Internet traffic, including Web pages, e-mails, instant messages and spyware. It can also be used simply as a standard AP or a wireless-to-Ethernet bridge, and has four built-in 10/100 Ethernet ports. The company is also selling a $40 802.11g PC Card adapter.—May 23, 2005

  • Hop-on Wireless claims to have a Wi-Fi phone that is going to sell for about $40. The phone, model HOP1502, will support Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) as well as Real-Time Transfer Protocol (RTP), Session Description Protocol, and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).—May 23, 2005

  • Israeli fabless chip designer Metalink said today that it is entering the WLAN market with a pre-802.11n chipset family called WLANPlus. First out of the gate will be a single-chip radio supporting multiple in, multiple out (MIMO) antenna architecture, which is destined to be a major part of 802.11n when it is finalized.—May 23, 2005

    May 16-20, 2005

  • Pepper Computer's Pepper Pad portable wireless device is on sale as of today. The $800 unit packs in AOL instant messaging, a Mozilla browser, e-mail, photo and video viewing and more, in a 2.3 lb device with a 20GB hard drive, 256MB of RAM and an 800x600 resolution 8.4-inch LCD screen. It connects via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Infrared. It can even work as a very expensive remote control for all your A/V equipment. The product is available through Amazon.com.—May 19, 2005

  • Broadcom is suing Qualcomm over infringement of 10 patents "related to wired and wireless communications and multimedia processing technologies." It's not clear that any of the patents have to do with Wi-Fi, but they do cover voice over IP capabilities. The suit, filed in United States District Court for the Central District of California, seeks monetary damages and an injunction "barring the manufacture and sale of Qualcomm's core suite of baseband and RF integrated circuits." Broadcom also says Qualcomm has "engaged in unfair trade practices" by importing circuits that infringe upon the Broadcom patents, and has registered a complaint about it with the International Trade Commission (ITC). If this doesn't get settled, Broadcom expects a trial next year. The company claims to have 955 patents, with 3,200 more in the application process.—May 19, 2005

  • Nortel is working with Wireless Valley on a new product called MeshPlanner. The software is intended for designing a Nortel wireless mesh network. Import a map of an area, delineate what is an obstruction (such as trees and structures) and where the end users are, and the software will indicate the best places for access point placement. The software can do a full simulation of how the network will work, and how it will differ by adding in new mesh nodes. —May 18, 2005

  • Toshiba America Information Systems' MyConnect service (built on the back of the GoRemote service) is now going to have a version specifically designed for enterprise customers—much like GoRemote already is. MyConnect Enterprise will let mobile workers access hotspots and 50,000 dial-up connections worldwide. VPN is integrated into the software for secure tunnels back to the home network, and the corporation using it doesn't have to host a MyConnect server—Toshiba will host it for them. MyConnect runs on Windows 2000 and XP systems. —May 18, 2005

  • SMC Networks has a new wireless bridge for outdoor connections. The Elite Connect Universal 2.4GHz/5GHz Outdoor Wireless Access Point/Bridge (model SMC2888W) has two configurations: the M is the master, which does multipoint conections to up to 16 S (slave) modules using WDS bridging. They can support either 802.11b/g (2.4GHz) or 802.11a (5GHz) as needed, as well as WPA encryption and 802.1X authentication. Each product costs $1,000 and should be available in June. —May 18, 2005

  • Aruba Networks announced this week that its WLAN switching products—specifically the 2400 mobility controller and AP 61 and AP 70 access points—are the first to get certification from Cybertrust's ICSA Labs and its new Wireless Product Security Testing Program. The program checks for a product's cryptography and other abilities. Aruba says the certification assures customers that "advanced security functions, such as 802.11a, are properly implemented." —May 18, 2005

  • Freescale Semiconductor, a major player on the UWB side of things, is also going to play in the ZigBee wireless control space. The company is offering a system-in-a-package complete with an 802.15.4 MAC, Freescale's own simple MAC, and a ZigBee protocol stack for vendors to do quick and cheap development of ZigBee products. —May 18, 2005

  • Calypso Wireless says a prototype of its C1250i dual-mode phone supporting both Voice over Wi-Fi and GSM-GPRS communications is ready for field trials. The phone will use Calypso's patented ASNAP platform that allows revenue sharing between carriers and ISPs—whichever the phone connects with. ASNAP also allows the phone to handle mobile, two-way videoconferencing. Today, the company said it would give Franc Telecom of London exclusive rights to distributing the phones in the UK. —May 18, 2005

  • DeviceScape is providing the software inside the new palmOne LifeDrive Mobile Manager to make the new PDA with a 4GB hard drive Wi-Fi capable. This is DeviceScape's first Palm product; the company recently created a Linux stack for fast porting of Wi-Fi to that OS.—May 18, 2005

    May 9-13, 2005

  • MIMO has come to cameras: Smartvue this week released a new video surveillance system that would build in the TRUE MIMO chipset from Airgo Networks. The chip is in use by many consumer Wi-Fi products to provide high speed and longer range connections using the multiple in, multiple out technology that is likely to be the basis of the 802.11n specification in the future. The system, called Smartvue S2, will be self-configuring, using the company's patent-pending technology to automatically seek out other cameras and video storage nodes. —May 12, 2005

  • MaxStream has eschewed both 802.11 and 802.16 (WiMax) in its new product. The XPress Ethernet Bridge is indeed wireless, but uses the 900MHz radio frequency band to get its 15-mile line-of-sight (with high-gain antenna) distance and 1.5Mbps connection. The company is targeting the product for areas where 2.4GHz band is in use and is causing interference. The point-to-point radios are $700 per pair for indoors, or $1,000 for outdoor enclosures. —May 12, 2005

  • Sony has a new T-Series VAIO ultra-portable laptop out, the VGN-T350, which includes built-in Wi-Fi but goes it one better by also including an integrated cellular connection. Specifically in this case, it works with Cingular's EDGE data network within the States. Using what Sony calls SmartWi technology, the laptop will switch back and forth from 802.11g/b or EDGE networks using function keys. (It also supports Bluetooth for peripherals.) Owners of the laptop can try a 30-day trial of Cingular service if they sign up through Sony. After that, it's $50 a month with a two year agreement, or try it free for two months then pay $80 a month with a one year agreement. The laptop starts at $2,200 and also features a 10.6-inch extra bright screen, DVD/RW drive, and Dolby surround sound when you wear headphones. —May 11, 2005

  • Another new virtual private network service to consider when using a hotspot: PublicVPN.com charges $6 a month or $60 a year to give Windows (XP & 2000, though instructions go back to Win95) and Mac (OS X 10.2 & 10.3) users encrypted security from the laptop to the access point. Choose from either IPsec or PPTP tunnels (with SSL tunnels on the way), and PublicVPN.com also offers an SMTP server for sending mail. Right now, they only take payments through PayPal, so you can let your auction of classic Star Wars memorabilia on eBay fund your security. —May 11, 2005

  • Cranite Systems' WirelessWall software has or is up for many certifications to make it officially useful to the United States government (FIPS-140-2 and Common Criteria Scheme certification, for example), but today the company reports in a deluge of acronyms that it has passed testing with "the Government of Canada's (GoC) Communications Security Establishment (CSE) Information Technology Security Product Prequalification Program (IPPP), and has been added to the ITS Product Prequalified List (IPPL)." Whew. —May 11, 2005

  • Multispectral Solutions says it has received a patent on using ultrawideband (UWB) to track RFID tags. They will build this into their Precision Asset Location System Products, including their new "Sapphire" line. They filed for the patent back in October 2001. —May 11, 2005

  • Techedge says it has built Wi-Fi into its existing IP-PCS voice solution, which is comprised of base stations, handsets, servers and the OSS software that runs it. With Wi-Fi in the base stations and handsets, the company says it can offer "service providers an additional option to deploy low cost mobile VoIP services." The base stations are high-power units designed to broadcast Wi-Fi citywide even with non-line-of-sight locations. The company is trialing the solution with an operator in Hangzhou, China. —May 11, 2005

  • Trapeze Networks has lined up another customer for its Wi-Fi switch technology. Enterasys Networks will integrate it into new equipment, in particular Trapeze's security and management capabilities, which will work directly with Enterasys's own intrusion detection and user policy enforcement features. Enterasys access points will also start to take advantage of Trapeze's Open Access Point Initiative (OAPI), so the APs can get full use out of the Trapeze Mobility System Software that Enterasys is building in.—May 9, 2005

  • ABI Research says that by the end of this decade, there will be over 100 million handsets in the world that can connect to either a cellular network or a Wi-Fi network for voice calls. The push by companies like Korea Telecom and BT, both planning dual-mode services this year, will fuel the fire for such phones.—May 9, 2005

  • ZigBee product developers can now get a kit from Atlanta-based Cirronet to helps speed them on the path to using the standard in industrial applications. The kit includes two 2.4GHz serial interface boards using Cirronet's ZigBee module. The boards have interfaces for USB, RS-23, power adapters, antennas and more. A single kit will cost $300. A more advanced "professional" developer's kit will follow soon.—May 9, 2005

  • AirDefense is warning against what it calls a new phishing scam to try and trick users of wireless networks, something it found when monitoring Wi-Fi traffic at events in the U.K. and in Las Vegas. The attack is similar to an 'evil twin' but goes the extra distance of offering a fake login Web page that looks like the real thing. Once logged in, a user will get hit with numerous computer viruses. AirDefense lists the top things that people can do to avoid problems—install a personal firewall, only enter passwords at SSL-encrypted Web sites; don't use hotspots where you can't see other users; turn off wireless when not in use; and don't use insecure software like e-mail and instant messages (stick to Web surfing only). Oh, and of course you can download the free AirDefense Personal software which monitors for various things like evil twins and phishing attacks on the fly—just be ready to give them some info on your company's own deployments to get it.—May 9, 2005

  • Luxul Corp. says its new 802.11b/g Enterprise Wireless Solution has the "power and coverage of more than five conventional 802.11g access points." The unit uses an omni-directional antenna, and has a Power over Ethernet amplifier to boost the AP output to 32dBm. The receive gain is also boosted to "64 times the receive sensitivity" of normal APs. No price information was announced, but the unit is available now.—May 9, 2005

    May 2-6, 2005

    News by way of Interop in Las Vegas this week:

  • Aruba Networks is offering customers a Personal Access Point (AP) that it can hand to traveling or telecommuting employees, which can in turn be used for secure connections back to the main office. Plug the $250 unit into any broadband connection (home, hotel, branch office, etc.) and the AP builds an IPsec-based VPN tunnel back to the corporate network. Even connections that require a user to sign in, such as a hotspot or hotel connection, can be used. The AP connects to the company's Aruba mobility controller to get any security policy info that needs to be enforced on the client. It can all be remotely controlled by the IT staff.

  • Symbol Technologies is putting more security into its wireless equipment. The company will offer a Symbol Wireless Intrusion Protection System to integrate with the company's switch portfolio (and it won't require sensor hardware as an overlay—it will use the existing Symbol AP infrastructure), a radio frequency manager with a constant site survey feature and spectrum analyzer, and Symbol's next generation WLAN switch. The switch is an update of the WS2000 for branch offices. It will also include rogue AP detection, and can be used to deploy hotspots. Look for the new features and products in the third quarter.

  • AirTight Networks has released a new version of its flagship product. SpectraGuard Enterprise 3.0 will combine location awareness with intrusion prevention systems (IPS). The system is made up of an appliance using a security policy manager, combined with distributed sensors. It hits all the highlights, preventing attacks like DoS, evil twins, spoofed MAC addresses, and others. The company also has released Planner, a standalone desktop tool that does just what it says: import a map, and you can use the drag-and-drop interface to figure out optimal AP and sensor placement in your facility.

  • Chipmaker Engim is in partnership mode. The company is teaming with AirDefense to build 24/7 IPS right into its 802.11 chips. They say this multi-function platform will improve performance (though they don't say how), while cutting cost of equipment, since an overlay network isn't needed for sensors. The functions will be found in the Engim En-3002 chip. That same chip is being demonstrated by original design manufacturer (ODM) Accton, in an access point reference design called the EAP2638E. The design is now available to OEMs.

  • Similar to the above (i.e., building IPS into access points), AirMagnet—which announced a deal with Engim months ago, and Colubris last week—is going to let market newcomer Xirrus build the AirMagnet intrusion detection technology into the Xirrus WLAN array. The hardware can then do full-time IDS while still working to connect end users—no overlay sensor network is needed.

  • Cognio is finally making a product debut with the Intelligent Spectrum Management Platform (ISMP), which will work with WildPackets' Airopeak NX to provide full radio frequency (RF) management by monitoring for interference, malfunctioning devices and changes to the network traffic patterns. Concourse Communications, for example, will be using ISMP to monitor problems at the many airports where it runs hotspots.

  • NextHop is also showing off its Wireless LAN Controller Software (WCS) —based on the intellectual property acquired from the late Legra Systems—with chip vendors SiNett and Marvell. SiNett's OneRunner reference platform, using the OneEdge Switch Processor, will work with WCS to address Layer 2 and 3 switching and WLAN management. Marvell is showing its Prestera chipset with WCS in a switch platform with 24 to 48 gigabit Ethernet ports, 10-gigabit uplinks, and support for up to 48 access points.

  • Wireless Valley, maker of site survey software (now with built-in RF management) says it will be integrating its products with those of Network Chemistry. The combo will put WV's network simulation tools together with NC's network analysis and IDS.

  • Network Chemistry, in fact, has upgraded its RFprotect System to version 4, a revamp the company says reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) in IPS circles. The company is introducing totally new sensor hardware (which it says it builds itself, instead of using out-of-date off-the-shelf APs), which are priced at $349. Along with the above-mentioned site survey capabilities from Wireless Valley, the RFprotect software will also have location determination of intruders and rogues. Most of the prevention aspects are automated, so user intervention is at a minimum. RFprotect has two aspects, Mobile (on laptops) and Distributed (on a central server), which are designed to work together and share information.

  • Also updating their security and management system is Fortress Technologies. The company's 3.0 version integrates what they call Management and Policy Server (MaPS) for tracking who's coming and going, what equipment they use, and where they signed in from. Profiles from MaPS can be as granular as what the specific computer logging needs to sign on, or go as high as putting restrictions on entire groups of users. 3.0 also includes a new security controller, and a new version of the Fortress Secure Client software for Windows (including CE), DOS, Palm, and Linux.

  • Those with smaller networks that need managing may want to try AdventNet's WiFi Manager, version 4.2.0. The software now supports access points from consumer vendors like Linksys, D-Link and SMC, which can be centrally secured and configured. Also supported are access gateways from Nomadix.

  • Speaking of Nomadix, the company released this week a new gateway, the AG 5000 Metro, designed for controlling wireless in metro-sized wireless networks. The $12,000 unit can handle up to 4,000 users at a time when they connect via a Wi-Fi hotzone (standard APs or mesh) or even WiMax-based fixed wireless.

  • On the back-end of metro deployments comes Airpath with a new neutral host platform, called RoamBOSS. This Operational Support System (OSS) is a carrier-centered version of the company's WiBOSS, this time providing roaming functions and a clearinghouse for billing between providers. The company says the "neutrality" of the platform is a must for municipalities if they want to get users who have subscriptions with other areas or services.

  • Columbitech has added virtual private network support for wireless users to its software, targeting voice over Wi-Fi use that needs better security. It supports Session Persistence so it can maintain a session even when out of range of the wireless signal—so calls made even at a hotspot can continue onto a 3G network or vice versa—any network that's IP based.

    Away from the lights of Vegas:

  • Microsoft has released a software update that adds native WPA2/802.11i support to Windows XP. No need for third-party supplicants any more (though they arguably might still be better). The update supports preshared key (PSK) and AES encryption using CCMP, or can also use the Pairwise Master Key (PMK) caching to authenticate faster, since results are stored.—May 4, 2005

  • LucidLink, the home and SMB 802.1X authentication software you install on a local system, said this week that it is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant, meaning it is rated secure enough for medical use in doctors offices and clinics. The company offers a white paper spelling out how to put the software to such use.—May 4, 2005

  • Atheros is making its "one-touch" wireless security solution, called JumpStart, available to any maker of Wi-Fi equipment that would like to incorporate it—for free. This is unlike Broadcom and Buffalo, who both retain control of their own one-touch security setups for their customers or products, respectively. The open-source move means vendors beyond just D-Link, which is already committed to JumpStart, may embrace it. The source code will be available (eventually) at SourceForge, but developers will want to get the full SDK (including marketing materials) from Atheros. —May 2, 2005

  • IOGear has launched its first HomePlug-compliant Powerline Networking Kit for home users, which connects computer or networking equipment over a home's interior powerlines as if it were Ethernet. The kit isn't wireless, but IOGear is positioning it as a great way to eliminate Wi-Fi dead spots. The kit costs $100. —May 2, 2005

  • Socket Communications hopes to ease WLAN sign-in support for people using Pocket PCs. The company's Wi-Fi Companion runs on such devices with 802.11, and gives them a graphical interface along with profiles they can use at multiple networks. Wi-Fi Companion can work as a network detector, telling the user the type of network and security used, and also has diagnostic tools built in for doing a ping or trace route for troubleshooting. It will even turn on the power saving mode automatically to extend the unit's battery life. The software costs $25 and runs on units from HP, Asus and Dell that incorporate Wi-Fi, as well as other Pocket PCs using the Socket Compact Flash (CF) or SDIO Wi-Fi cards. The software will come free with the cards after May 16. —May 2, 2005


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