As wireless technologies proliferate in the enterprise, more developers are crafting products that help IT managers integrate WAN and LAN support. BVRP Software Corp. next week at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment show in Las Vegas will introduce Network Nomad, a client-side network connectivity manager that gives notebook users virtually automatic connections to wired or wireless LANs.
Network Nomad works by first identifying all the available network connections upon boot-up. It first tries to default automatically to the users preset favorite network profile, but if that network isnt available, it gives the user an available list of profiles to choose from. Once the user selects a network, Network Nomad automatically configures the IP, network and physical settings as well as the e-mail parameters required to connect, BVRP officials said.
"It has all the parameters of every cell phone operator in the world," said David Wright, executive vice president and director of worldwide operations at BVRP, in Denver. "Most users dont know that each operator has its own settings."
Network Nomad will be available directly from BVRP by the end of the month for $29. At least two major PC manufacturers plan to bundle the software on their notebooks by the end of the year, said BVRP officials. They declined to name the manufacturers.
BVRP is also working on bundling deals with companies that are manufacturing PC cards that support 802.11x WLAN (wireless LAN) and WAN connections, Wright said, adding that he knows of seven such cards that will be available by years end from several Japanese companies. Network Nomad works with Microsoft Corp.s Windows desktop operating system. A version for Microsoft-based PDAs will be available next year, Wright said.
The software can also be configured to detect available networks before Windows launches, Wright said, which should appease some IT managers.
"Security concerns mandate that wireless laptops actively connect and validate when logging in to the machine," said Kevin Wilson, product line manager for desktop hardware at Duke Energy Corp. and an eWEEK Corporate Partner, in Charlotte, N.C.
Addressing enterprise security concerns, Bluefire Security Technologies Inc. at the show will announce a new version of its Mobile Firewall Plus for carriers. Carriers will resell the software to corporate customers that want to protect PDAs and phones from unauthorized access and denial-of-service attacks. The firewall supports only 802.11 WLANs, but support for General Packet Radio Service and Code Division Multiple Access WANs will be available next month, according to officials at the Baltimore company.
IBMs Pervasive Computing Group will announce at the show a back-end integration deal with Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB. Specifically, it will announce a new phone from Sony Ericsson that can access WebSphere Everyplace software, said a spokesman for IBM, in Somers, N.Y.
For its part, startup BelAir Networks Inc. will officially launch itself at CTIA with a WLAN infrastructure offering, a "mesh point" that combines the functions of an access point, a router and a switch, according to a spokesman for the Kanata, Ontario, company. The product, which weighs about 25 pounds, sits on the outside of a building and supports the network from there, providing less disruption and more capacity than in-building infrastructure solutions, the spokesman said.
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