DEMOMOBILE - DemoMobile illuminates unwired future

SAN DIEGO (09/19/2003) - At DemoMobile 2003 this week in San Diego, vendors showcased technology aimed at easing wireless device management and deployment -- a potential windfall for the enterprise given the multitude of wireless devices and gadgets also unveiled at the show.

Developing a strategy for managing the growing number of wireless devices in the enterprise is increasingly important, said Tim Scannell, president of Shoreline Research Inc.

"IT managers are really struggling to find a way to manage wireless and integrate it into wired systems to make a single view," Scannell said.

Most enterprises currently keep tabs on untethered devices with what can best be described as a haphazard approach, Scannell added.

"The majority of enterprises don't have strong wireless management in place," Scannell said. "IT is struggling with a way to integrate strong security."

To combat those issues, systems management vendor AirPrism Inc. introduced at the show MMS (Mobility Management Suite), software that helps companies deploy, secure, and manage mobile devices via both wired and wireless networks.

Whereas most traditional systems management solutions focus on tracking devices, configuring systems, and sending out software updates, MMS takes on data security, self-diagnosis, and self-healing, said Steve Sommer, AirPrism CEO.

"The two areas (in which) we are paving new ground are device security and remote diagnostics. The basic concept behind remote healing is autonomic computing: The device can fix itself, rather than IT fixing it," Sommer said.

Based on its Continuous Management Architecture, MMS also allows managers to lock devices remotely and to purge or back up data even when devices are disconnected from the network.

Targeting spam on mobile devices, DigiPortal Software Inc. rolled out ChoiceMail Enterprise Edition. ChoiceMail employs a combination of permission rules, white lists, blacklists, and identity query-response techniques.

The offering is a permissions-based system that allows administrators and users to control the level of spam protection on desktop PCs and wireless devices. The system integrates with existing messaging infrastructures without requiring changes to the message server or client-device software or the addition of any special-function devices.

Hoping to fuel the deployment of wireless networks by dramatically reducing the cost and time necessary to build them, Firetide Inc. unveiled HotPoint, a wireless mesh router designed to eliminate the wires in wireless back-haul networks.

In existing WLAN networks, access points must be connected to a wired Ethernet infrastructure with Ethernet cabling, which is expensive and time consuming to deploy, said Tareq Hoque, CEO of Firetide.

"Wiring is still most the expensive part of a wireless network. The bulk of the expense is in labor to install the equipment. It takes months and costs thousands of dollars," Hoque said. "By unwiring the LAN back haul, you can cut time, cost, and difficulty in deploying wireless networks."

The HotPoint wireless mesh routers use routing protocols such as TBRPF (Topology Broadcast based on Reverse-Path Forwarding) and 802.11-compliant radios to create a self-configuring and self-healing mesh network that can replace Ethernet back-haul cabling.

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