March Newsbits

By Naomi Graychase

March 26, 2008

Dell teams up with Aruba; Verizon files suit against unknown telemarketer; Iconic art deco-style Manhattan hotel to add Wi-Fi during its renovation; Sebastopol, California cancels plans for citywide Wi-Fi due to fears about health risks; and more.

Aruba Networks announced today that it has reached an agreement with Dell. As a result of the agreement, Dell, the 24-year old Texas-based computer company, will offer Aruba's full product line to its customers, including those in the health care, government, and education markets. Dell introduced its first mobile computer in 1989 and built its brand in the early days on direct-model selling.

"Dell's focus on simplifying IT for customers aligns with our commitment to provide simple, reliable and secure wireless solutions," said Tim Colby, Aruba's director of strategic partnerships in a press release today.  "Aruba takes the guesswork out of network set-up, maintenance, and expansion by automatically and continuously optimizing performance. Add an access point, add 802.11n support, add voice and video--and the network will adapt itself.  This capability simplifies life for integrators and ensures an excellent end user experience day in and day out."

March 26, 2008

Verizon Wireless has filed a lawsuit intended to block telemarketers from calling its wireless customers and employees. The lawsuit, filed in New Jersey Superior Court, alleges that telemarketers violated the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act by using an auto-dialer to reach Verizon Wireless customers and using “spoofing” techniques to mask the origin of the calls.

According to a statement issued today by Verizon, “The lawsuit alleges that Caller ID showed calls were made from a variety of numbers with 281, 614, 801, and 562 area codes.  But, when Verizon Wireless customers and employees attempted to call the numbers found on Caller ID, they generally heard a fast busy signal, indicating a non-working number.”

Verizon alleges that beginning in January 2008, more than two million of its customers and employees received unsolicited calls on their wireless telephones with a pre-recorded message indicating that the recipient’s car warranty was about to expire.

“Telemarketers are using increasingly sophisticated methods, such as illegal autodialing, to harass our customers,” said Steven E. Zipperstein, vice president and general counsel of Verizon Wireless in a written statement.  “Whatever the method, these unlawful telemarketing calls are an annoyance to our customers and invade their privacy, and we will continue to use every weapon in our legal arsenal to stop this activity and protect our customers.” 

Currently, the perpetrators are unknown. Verizon hopes to use the lawsuit’s discovery process to identify the telemarketers responsible for the scheme. 

March 25, 2008

The New Yorker Hotel announced today that it has begun a $65 million renovation, which will include deployment of a Wi-Fi network. The hotel, which opened in 1930 and is known for its impressive art deco décor, will offer the Wi-Fi free to guests above the 20th floor.

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Sebastopol, California’s City Council voted last week to refuse the offer of a free city-wide Wi-Fi network, compliments of Sonic.net. The move came as a result of fears voiced by city residents over the “health risks” associated with Wi-Fi. For more on Wi-Fi and its potential impact (or lack thereof) on human health, read “Is Wi-Fi Bad for Humans?”

March 24, 2008

The Spring VON.x conference opened last week at the San Jose Convention Center, with a new mantra: "It's no longer just voice or video, its everything over the Internet … It's XoIP." Conference organizers Pulvermedia were anticipating over 5,000 attendees hailing from 14 different countries, plus 175 vendors showing off their latest offerings. For more on the notable new products and services at the show, read "What's New at Spring VON 2008." 

March 19th, 2008

Siemens announced today that its new HiPath Wireless 802.11n solution, a part of the "Siemens openn communications portfolio," has been dubbed the "first ever to deliver dual-radio, 3x3 MIMO 802.11n functionality while remaining compliant with the wattage limitations of industry-standard 802.3af Power-over-Ethernet (PoE)." The claim is based on tests conducted by Craig Mathias of Fairpoint Group, a Massachusetts-based analyst firm. A free copy of the February report can be downloaded here.

Siemens 802.11n solution includes two new 802.11n HiPath Wireless Access Points, AP3610 (internal antenna) and AP3620 (external antenna), a new version of HiPath Wireless Convergence Software (V5 R1) that enables controllers to recognize and manage 802.11n access points, and a new version of HiPath Wireless Manager HiGuard that delivers advanced management and WIPS security for 802.11n-enabled networks. The HiPath Wireless AP3620 has received its Wi-Fi Alliance-Certified seal of approval for 802.11n draft 2.0.

The Siemens HiPath Wireless solution will begin shipping this month. HiPath Wireless Access Points are priced at $1,300. Upgrades to the HiPath Wireless Convergence Software will start at $349; HiPath Wireless Manager HiGuard upgrades are available free of charge.

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For all its faults--and, yes, it does have a few--the iPhone delivers the best mobile Web experience on the market. So it should come as no surprise that, according to recent research by M:Metrics, iPhon users access the Web through the device's easy-to-use Safari application far more than users of other smartphones do through their browsers. For more on the survey results, read the full article at SmartPhoneToday.

March 18, 2008

Some good news today for small and medium-sized businesses seeking affordable, reliable VoIP solutions. Digium, creators of Asterisk (the most widely used open source telephony software) and Westcon Group, a leading specialty distributor in networking, convergence, security, and mobility, announced today that Westcon is now offering Digium’s complete line of Asterisk-based telephony solutions to its worldwide community of reseller customers. The new partnership will enable Westcon resellers to deliver open source-based, non-proprietary VoIP solutions to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) more economically.

All of Digium’s solutions are now available through Westcon’s CollaborationPoint Open Source program, including the Switchvox IP PBX, Asterisk Appliance, Asterisk Business Edition software and appliances, and Digium’s complete line of analog, digital, and voice processing telephony cards for Asterisk servers and appliances and are backed by a money-back guarantee.

March 13, 2008

Irving, Texas-based Wayport, announced a new master services agreement today with Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA). Under the agreement, Wayport will enable Wi-Fi Internet access for patients, visitors, and other invited users at SCA’s 130+ surgery centers, which are spread throughout the United States. Each center will choose whether to utilize the services at its facility, however. A WLAN exclusively for employee and staff will also be deployed at each location.

SCA is one of the largest providers of specialty surgical services in the U.S., with 6,000 employees and more than 3,000 physician partners.  

March 10, 2008

Aruba Networks announced today that Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants in Springfield, Illinois has deployed Aruba’s adaptive wireless LAN and secure mobility solution at its facility. Part of the motivation for the upgrade was trouble with the clinic’s legacy single channel network, which suffered from interference from wireless LANs in nearby clinics.

“For the past two years, we were in a world of hurt with our single channel network because it could never find a single channel that was interference-free throughout the clinic,” said John Collins, Prairie Cardiovascular’s CIO, in a press release. With more than 40 board-certified cardiologists and 28 clinic sites in Illinois, Prairie is a national leader in the innovation and development of new cardiac diagnostic and treatment procedures. 

March 7, 2008

BelAir Networks has released its new BelAir100M Mobile Mesh Node. The 100M operates on both 4.9 GHz Public Safety and 5.9 GHz Intelligent Transportation Services (ITS) wireless frequencies and enables mobile connectivity in vehicles traveling as fast as 150mph.

The BelAir100M is available in both dual and tri-radio variants and can be configured to support any combination of 4.9 GHz Public Safety, 5.9 GHz ITS, Wi-Fi, or WiMAX radio frequencies. It is managed as a discoverable network element in the BelView Management system (BelView NMS) and runs the BelAir Operating System (BelAirOS).

The BelAir100M can be configured with both an access radio and a backhaul radio, or with dual backhaul radios. On the backhaul, it can support multiple connections to the road or trackside mesh network, while on the access side, the node can connect to multiple standards-based in-vehicle devices (including video cameras, as well as Wi-Fi-enabled laptops and phones).

As part of BelAir Networks' "next generation" wireless mesh, the BelAir100M also enables multi-agency communications interoperability, which can help to facilitate efficient response to emergency or disaster situations involving multiple agencies or jurisdictions. 

For more on Wi-Fi and disaster response, read "When Disaster Strikes, Wi-Fi Responds." For more on BelAir's strategy of targeting the public safety and disaster response markets, read "Carpe Diem: BelAir Seizes New Opportunities in Muni Wi-Fi."

March 3, 2008

The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District (FVRL) in Vancouver, WA announced today that it will be building out two Wi-Fi networks—one for visitors and one for staff--across its 13 locations. It has selected Bluesocket’s BlueSecure product family for the deployment. The FVRL, which serves 1.5 million visitors annually, will use one BlueSecure Controller and roughly 34 BlueSecure 1500 Access Points, all of which will be managed from the main data center. The BlueSecure solution supports the SIP2 protocol, which allows administrators to authenticate visitors’ access using either their library cards, PINs, or e-mail address.

The FVRL plans to eventually replace two of its branch buildings and construct a new main library building. It will expand its WLAN these locations once construction is completed. Other long-term goals include the addition of voice applications.

Other libraries that have chosen Bluesocket’s Wi-Fi solutions include, Long Beach Public Library, Berkeley Public Library, and Santa Clara Public Library.

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Wayport announced last week an agreement with Inova Health System, an award-winning, not-for-profit health care organization based in Northern Virginia. In addition to supporting medical and administrative applications, Wayport will provide fee-based Wi-Fi access for guests, such as patients and visitors, throughout Inova’s five hospitals. Users can purchase access on an hourly basis or purchase a plan that offers unlimited usage. Wayport will also install public PC units (the Wayport CyberCenter Express) in the hospitals, which can be accessed by the public.

Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-FiPlanet.com.

Originally published on .

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