It Knows You're Out There

By Matthew Peretz

February 11, 2002

It knows who you are. It knows where you are, and what you want. And it lives on your 802.11b network.

Newbury Networks, Inc, a developer of location-based network products, today announced the availability of LocaleManager and LocaleServer. The company described these as solutions for managing and deploying location-enabled networks and applications on WLANs supporting the 802.11 standard.

Newbury Networks calls the resulting networks location-enabled networks (LENs). As we described in an previous article, locales are contextually defined locations residing within a WLAN. They could be conference rooms, classrooms, convention centers, or wherever else an 802.11 WLAN is set up. The advantage of the LEN is in defining these discrete locales and giving users access to content or information available within those locations.

LocaleManager is a network management solution that provides "3 Factor Authentication." It determines: 1)What you have (a MAC address or smartcard); 2)What you know (password or PIN); and 3)Where you are (your location). The software can detect all 802.11 traffic within range of the network - not just on the network.

LocaleManager gives the network administrator the ability to control access and usage based on location parameters. A building lobby might provide general Internet access while restricting access to a company's information. The solution has built-in usage controls that make it possible to turn access areas on and off. Proximity-based access to peripherals is also configurable.

The LocaleManager product also aids RF optimization by providing data logs showing property usage, usage patterns, and network traffic stats. This enables the network admins to maximize the efficiency of the WLAN by defining optimal placement of access points (APs) and other usage pattern issues.

Finally, the LocaleManager can track all 802.11-enabled devices and equipment, adding to the security of corporate assets.

LocaleServer, the second half of the Newbury Network's solution, takes advantage of the user, location, and services information running on LENs. It can 'push' content specifically relevant to the user when they are in a defined locale.

LocaleServer incorporates a graphical builder or SDK to define locales within the LENs. It enables administrative control over the type of data pushed to specific locales. LocaleServer is an open software platform, capable of integration with any back-end enterprise application. It integrates with data through an Enterprise Java Bean (EJB).

The LocaleServer client layer is designed for the development of thin-client HTML-based Web content, or a Java-based app running on PDAs such as Pocket PC platforms - or on any 802.11b-enabled device. The solution supports any client platforms running Sun's Personal Java 1.2 as well. The company stated that simultaneous development of client screens and custom apps is possible with the product's development-side tool structure.

Both LocaleManager and LocaleServer are currently available for implementation, and support Win NT, UNIX, and Linux-based platforms. Additional information can be obtained at the Newbury Network's Web site.

Matthew Peretz is Managing Editor of 802.11-Planet.com



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