ZyXelS B-4000 wireless service gateway is targeted at organizations looking to deploy public WLANs.
The B-4000, which was released last month, combines an 802.11b wireless access point, router, four-port switch and wireless service gateway. The gateway, which ZyXel says can support 100 users simultaneously, is appropriate for use in public retail locations such as coffee shops, bookstores and airport terminals.
Public WLANs are more complex and require a richer set of features—particularly in security—than a standard wireless deployment. The B-4000 includes Layer 2 isolation capabilities, SSL log-in and VPN pass-through, as well as user authentication and accounting.
The Web-based management console is also used to specify billing rates and the length of time users could use each IP address, and I used it to check the MAC addresses of each client accessing the WLAN.
The coolest part of the B-4000 is the accompanying printer, which I used to generate a receipt with the price of wireless access and a unique user name and password combination.
WLAN customers are directed to a portal (which can be customized to include advertising) to authenticate and gain access to the Internet.
Even with the receipt printer, which other units I looked at lacked, the B-4000s $649 price is high. But the fact that its feature-rich makes it worth a look. More information is available at http://us.zyxel.com.