Linux box targets DSL users

Wellington's DSL Solutions aims to ride on the back of the government-sponsored regional broadband trial with an adapted version of Sun's Cobalt Qube server.

Wellington’s DSL Solutions aims to ride on the back of the government-sponsored regional broadband trial with an adapted version of Sun’s Cobalt Qube server.

The IT company is putting its major effort behind connections of Telecom’s JetStream service, expecting DSL to be the predominant interface. Ironically its first customer, Wellington’s Worser Bay School, uses TelstraClear cable.

But the DSL-enabled Qube’s ease of set-up and maintenance also make it appropriate for small business, says DSL Solutions account manager Craig Vartha.

The Qube is a Linux-based packaged server, which Sun acquired when it took over Cobalt Networks in 2000. The biggest tasks in accommodating the Qube to JetStream were enabling the Linux kernel to communicate with Telecom’s ATM-based service and commissioning special ADSL cards from the US, because the commercially available models were too long to put in the Qube cabinet, Vartha says.

The Linux kernel the company was working with did not support ATM, says product manager Cal Iaccarino (pictured), so support had to be programmed in for the Qube to work with JetStream.

“We had Red Hat 2.2, and I believe later versions may have ATM support,” he says. “Linux is a developing animal.”

The Qube includes a box just over 19cm on a side. This is the necessary hardware to support Linux, the internet connection, the Apache web server, mail and file-servers, a VPN gateway and a firewall, with management software claimed to allow the system to be managed simply through a GUI interface.

DSL Solutions, despite its name, can fit the Qube with a broadband cable or wireless connection, Vartha says.

While schools are the major target, as they are of the regional broadband plan, “we wouldn’t object to selling to a small business or two”, he says.

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