June 27, 2005
By Galen Gruman, editorial director, IT Wireless
A free newsletter to all IT Wireless subscribers.


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The Latest in Wireless Products and Tech

Colubris Networks has released the InMotion MSC 5000 series of multiservice controllers meant to integrate wired and wireless networks for easier management and deployment. The MSC-5500 is engineered for large campus and enterprise deployments and scales to 200 wireless access points serving thousands of users, while the MSC-5200 is aimed at small offices and remote locations with the ability to support up to 25 wireless access points and hundreds of users. Colubris claims its TriPlane architecture delivers a 5X improved scalability of managed wireless access points over conventional wireless LAN switches. Both products will be available in July.

The last several weeks have seen a trio of new developments in wireless analysis tools to help network managers audit and map their wireless coverage:

  • Berkeley Varitronics Systems expects to release this summer the Caterpillar, a portable wireless LAN frequency and power analysis meter to verify and analyze output power levels, report their channel and frequency and create an 802.11 power profile. The handheld sweeping analyzer is designed for 802.11b/a/g frequency and power measurements. The receiver attaches directly to an access point, bridge, or network interface card via the included SMA antenna connection kit. Technicians can measure power from an array of 802.11 network gear as well as many wireless devices including Bluetooth, ZigBee, cordless phones, voice over IP, and video transmitters. Other features include a built-in backlit display, keypad menu navigation, and removable, rechargeable NiMH batteries.  Berkeley also released an updated version of its Bumblebee portable spectrum analyzer, which connects to a Hewlett-Packard iPaq handheld. The device analyzes the 2.400GHz-2.500GHz, 5.150GHz-5.900GHz, and 4.940GHz-4.990GHz bands.
  • Helium Networks has launched its Wireless Recon system, which lets network engineers and technicians conduct site surveys or audit 802.11 a/b/g wireless networks in what the company claims is half the time of traditional site-survey and design methods, while automatically collecting the industry's largest set of real wireless measurements with precise location fingerprint.
  • AirMagnet has announced a new laptop-based radiofrequency spectrum analysis solution for Wi-Fi networks. The company claims that the AirMagnet Spectrum Analyzer based on Cognio's Intelligent Spectrum Management System — is the industry's first to identify the specific sources of interference that can undermine the performance of wireless networks. Capabilities include real-time RF spectrum analysis, detecting and identifying interfering devices in real time, pinpointing the location of problematic wireless devices, measuring RF "air quality," including metrics for radio congestion, creating graphical display of Wi-Fi spectrum in nine simultaneous charts and graphs, and analyzing all Wi-Fi and public-safety bands of spectrum in use today, including 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g.

Managed services are gaining popularity in a variety of technology areas, so it's perhaps no surprise that WiTopia.Net has announced its SecureMyWiFi managed service for business, where WiTopia provides hosted systems and Radius servers to secure wireless networks and encrypt all users' wireless data whether employees are home-based or located in offices around the globe. The company claims the hosted approach is easier to deploy and cheaper to maintain than do-it-yourself wireless LANs.

In other product news:

  • Symbol Technologies, IBM, and Royal Philips Electronics have demonstrated RFID EPC Generation 2 technology showing simultaneous interoperability between EPC Gen 2 tags and class 0 and class 1 Gen 1 tags. Symbol also says that it is the first RFID provider to support Microsoft's infrastructure through its release of the XR400 reader, a fixed tag reader that uses a Windows CE operating system.
  • Bluefire Security's wireless-security platform now supports the new Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0.
  • Comtech Holdings has released the µWeave M2M telemetry system that lets companies monitor, control and manage their network of remote equipment via the Internet, using a GPRS cellular connection to network the remote devices to the enterprise.
  • eSP has revised its Stay-Link remote-management software so developers to implement programmatic interaction with terminal devices and user sessions from within the host application. Version 7 also adds an Explorer-style Stay-Linked Administrator console for centrally managing all Stay-Linked servers in the enterprise within a single drill-down view.
  • Firetide has introduced the HotPort 3101 mesh network, designed so hotels, resorts, convention centers and cruise ships can quickly extend Internet access and networking services property-wide with little or no disruption to daily operations.
  • BelAir Networks has announced the BelAir50c, a single radio, wireless mesh node that can be used to create small mesh clusters or mid-sized hot zones for stand-alone buildings.
  • Netgear has released the the RangeMax Wireless Access Point (WPN802), which uses an array of seven internal Smart MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antennas to dynamically adapt to the environment to avoid interference and deliver up to 10 times more wireless coverage and speed than basic 802.11g access points, the company claims.
  • Roving Planet says it will deliver later this year a new version of Roving Planet AP Commander optimized for Mac OS X Server version 10.4 (Tiger) and Apple Xserve G5.
  • Sprint and Novatel Wireless have announced availability of the Sprint PCS Connection Card by Novatel Wireless (also called the Merlin S620). Designed to operate on CDMA 1XEVDO and 1XRTT networks, the card will support broadband speeds when Sprint EVDO coverage is available later this year; it is backwards-compatible to provide 1XRTT speeds in Sprint coverage areas where EVDO service is not available.

In hot-spot news, Boingo Wireless customers now have access to an additional 3,400 Wi-Fi hot spots in the SBC Communications FreedomLink network, including airports, business hotels, and Barnes and Noble, Caribou Coffee and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The UPS Store, and Mail Box Etc. locations. Boingo also now offers hot-spot service in Boston's Logan International Airport. With these additions, business travelers can now use their Boingo account to access 18,000 Wi-Fi hot spots worldwide.

Got a great product or technology tip? Send it to news@it-wireless.com.


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The Latest in the Wireless Marketplace

ABI: Nextel, Verizon Square Off on Enterprise Location Services

Over the past few years, Nextel has solidified its position as the premier provider of handset-based commercial telematics in North America. While AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Verizon, and T-Mobile had focused primarily on the consumer segment, Nextel maintained the lion's share of commercial subscribers. But in the past quarter, Verizon has announced its own plans for a fleet-management offering. ABI Research expects Verizon to begin deploying its field force and fleet management solutions this fall. "Nextel now faces some competition from Verizon in the enterprise location based-services market, but both will experience significant growth simply because of the vast addressable market," says ABI Research analyst David Schrier.

The market segment Nextel and Verizon are targeting with their handset-based solutions is short-haul trucking, which includes delivery vehicles, maintenance and field- service workers, mobile sales forces, and other mobile workforces. Nextel, already an entrenched player in this market, is partnered with a number of third party application providers, including @Road, Gearworks, Televigation, and Xora to deliver focused commercial telematics services to customers.

"By entering these markets from the handset side, Verizon can gain expertise in the functionality their clients demand and add future integration with the vehicle to move into more traditional commercial telematics segments, such as long-haul trucking," adds Schrier. "The entry of new mobile operators down the telematics value chain is a significant threat to the aggregators of cellular networks in North America."

IMS: Bluetooth/UWB Collaboration a Plus

Earlier this month, the Bluetooth SIG announced it would work with UWB developers to combine the strengths of the two technologies. IMS Research believe this collaboration is set to guarantee the success of both Bluetooth and UWB. Each technology will undoubtedly benefit from this move. Bluetooth is set to take advantage of UWB high data rates and UWB from the technological maturity, valuable brand and qualification program of Bluetooth. The ultimate goal of the agreement is for the groups presence to work towards an architecture that allows devices to take advantage of UWB data rates while maintaining backward compatibly with Bluetooth devices.

With a focus on user experience, this will greatly be improved by the ability to offer applications with the high data rates that UWB can offer. However, challenges still remain, IMS says. Perhaps most notably, an agreement needs to be made between the two competing UWB technologies backed by different organizations, both of which the Bluetooth SIG will work with.



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