Vendors this week will showcase a battery of products designed to advance wireless networks.
The offerings, being shown at NetWorld+Interop in Las Vegas, address such areas as Bluetooth security and voice traffic quality.
AirDefense Inc. will unveil BlueWatch, software that works with a Bluetooth radio adapter card in a laptop to scan for Bluetooth signals. It's one of the few on the market; Red-M also offers a scanning product.
Bluetooth is a generally short-range radio, typically 30 to 100 feet -- although Class I devices can reach about 350 feet. Bluetooth is being embedded or plugged into handhelds, laptops, cell phones and headsets, but also is bringing new risks.
"Our chief security officer has done demonstrations of how to use your Bluetooth cell phone to connect to another Bluetooth cell phone, and use that other phone to make a call," says Jay Chaudhry, executive chairman of AirDefense.
BlueWatch runs on any Windows XP or 2000 laptop. It scans for Bluetooth signals via a Bluetooth USB adapter. Currently, you have to carry the laptop around to scan. Later this year, as with its 802.11 wireless LAN (WLAN) scanning products, AirDefense will add code so that its compact radio sensors, distributed through a building, will be able to pick up Bluetooth signals and pass information back to a server. A tabbed graphical displays lays out information about the devices, signals and other features.
Joseph Dell, CTO for Vigilar Inc., an Atlanta information security firm, uses BlueWatch to monitor cellular phones, some printers and sometimes ad hoc Bluetooth networks in the company's offices and elsewhere in the building. "People try, often by accident, to connect to our Bluetooth network," he says. "We keep an eye on it (with BlueWatch) and can mitigate the risks."
BlueWatch will be released this month and will retail for US$295.
Also at the show, Airespace Inc. will introduce three products, including the first access point to use multiple input multiple output (MIMO) smart antenna technology.
MIMO uses two or more antennas and clever algorithms to, in effect, send data over multiple signal paths at the same time. The result is in increased capacity and range compared to conventional WLAN antennas.
The Airespace Intelligent RF Access Point is intended for sites that have lots of radio frequency interference or where high performance or long range is critical, says Jeff Aaron, senior manager of marketing.
He says MIMO antennas create a more symmetrical radio environment, providing a more consistent and reliable signal than conventional access points.
Users should see two to three times the throughput (up to the maximum 54M bit/sec) and range of Airespace's existing 1200 access point, according to Aaron.
The MIMO device is scheduled to ship in the third quarter. Price has not been set.
Also new from Airespace is Airespace Wireless Location Services (AWLS), which features the company's existing RF Fingerprinting software on a dedicated PC server. The software can calculate a user's location to within about 15 feet, in 90 percent of the cases, Aaron says.
New APIs let outside applications, such as ERP, scheduling or emergency 911 applications, access AWLS data. The appliance will be available in the third quarter, and pricing has not been finalized.
AWLS also will be able to track a new 802.11 active radio frequency identification tag, based on Bluesoft Inc.'s AeroScout tag. About the size of a small matchbox, the tag can be attached to portable radiology equipment, airport luggage containers or mobile manufacturing gear. Unlike typical passive tags, the AeroScout technology sends out a continuous 802.11b/g signal, which AWLS can pick up and process. Tags will cost $95.
Another vendor, Colubris Networks Inc., says it is upgrading its CN1250 access points to better support voice.
Colubris will become the latest vendor to include the Spectralink Voice Priority protocol in its WLAN gear. The protocol is a widely used quality-of-service (QoS) technology for VoIP calls.
Each Colubris access point can run up to 16 separate media access control addresses, known as Basic Service Set Identifiers. With Spectralink Voice Priority, each access point can have one traffic queue for data and one for voice, with one or more addresses set aside for prioritized voice traffic.
The access points also will include code for the Wireless Multimedia Extensions, a subset of the QoS features that are nearing final approval as the 802.11e standard.
These upgrades to the Colubris gear are scheduled for availability in July.
WLAN mesh vendor Firetide Inc. will use N+I to unveil its HotPoint 1000R, a ruggedized version of its wireless access point for outdoor use. The company's existing 1000S is an indoor access point. Both use a 802.11b/g radio and a set of algorithms to create a mesh network topology, similar to that of the Internet. Traffic is routed over this wireless mesh instead of cables.
The product, which has a range of about 2 miles and includes two Ethernet ports, will be generally available in June for about $2,000.
Also at the show, Senforce Technologies Inc. will release Enterprise Mobility Security Manager 2.5, client/server software for administering network access on mobile devices.
The new version includes code that lets administrators control whether and how data can be stored on a mobile laptop or PDA, or on any attached peripheral device. Policies can be set that only let an end user store data on the built-in hard drive, not a USB-attached mini-drive or CD.
Senforce's client runs as a Network Driver Interface Specification driver at Layer 2, where it can do fast, stateful inspection of packets. Policies set on a server, such as shutting off a WLAN card if security trouble is detected, are enforced on the client.
Version 2.5 costs $89 per user, with a yearly maintenance charge that is 20 percent of the total per-seat fee.