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Networking and Telecommunications

Wired networks are established and in place for the most part, although companies like Yipes are working to close the gaps that remain. The word in networking now is wireless: moving beyond landlines to connect people and networks via radio frequencies, beams, and satellites.

Wireless Networking
Apple Airport Extreme
Airport extreme has two components: the Airport Extreme Card and the Base Station. With both of these components installed, AirPort Extreme, based on the 802.11g wireless standard, delivers data rates at 54Mbps, nearly five times faster than the 802.11b standard. The AirPort Extreme Base Station also features a compatibility mode as its default setting that supports all 802.11b-compliant products. In this case, the connection is at data rates up to 11Mbps. The AirPort Extreme Base Station can serve up to 50 Mac and Windows users simultaneously. The AirPort Extreme Base Station comes equipped with a built-in firewall to help prevent access to sensitive data on the computer and the ability to secure over the air transmissions with 128-bit WEP encryption. Bridging, allows one AirPort Extreme Base Station to connect to another AirPort Extreme Base Station, eliminates the need to run expensive cables to extend a network. Previously, all AirPort Base Stations required a physical connection to the Internet. With wireless bridging, two or more AirPort Extreme Base Stations can be connected wirelessly and effectively, increasing the range of a network. The Airport Extreme Base Station also comes with a USB port allowing users to connect to a USB printer and share it wirelessly.

Contact: Apple Computer, Cupertino, CA; (408) 996-1010;

Colubris Networks develops secure, wireless LAN solutions for enterprise networks. Their turn-key solution includes a firewall, router, and other functionality needed to completely implement a wireless network. Colubris products are designed to integrate seamlessly into an enterprise security framework and leverage investments in existing network infrastructure. Colubris’s robust, VPN-caliber security mechanisms eliminate the need for external devices to ensure wireless security. Enterprise management features make the wireless LAN completely manageable from within existing operations framework. Colubris interoperates with existing software and systems to deliver a cost-effective solution and leverage existing investments. Two of Colubris’s products are in use at higher education institutions throughout North America. The CN1050 provides secure Wi-Fi service to authenticated users. It uses encryption technology to protect data from eavesdroppers. The CN3000 provides user authentication, but d'es not encrypt data traffic. It provides a service that is very similar to a public hotspot, such as an Internet café.

Contact: Colubris, Waltham, MA; (781) 684-0001;

fSONA Communications was founded in 1997 to deliver simple wireless solutions for carrier, service provide, and enterprise networks around the world. The SONAbeam series of free space optical (FSO) networking products use an unlicensed, wireless technology operating at speeds up to 2.5Gbps and distances up to 5km (3 miles). SONAbeam avoids the cost of digging to lay fiber and licensing for radio frequencies. SONAbeam is operational in 24 countries around the globe and was named Product of the Year by Network Magazine.

Contact: fSONA, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada; (877) Go-FSONA;

RoamAbout Wireless LAN Access Platform
RoamAbout R2, from Enterasys Networks, is a customizable and expandable enterprise-class, indoor and outdoor wireless platform. The RoamAbout R2 is designed to provide institutions with advanced networking features, an upgradeable architecture, advanced security features such as Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and 802.1X support, and support for multiple standards-based 802.11 radio technologies. These features create a smooth technology migration, eliminating the need to upgrade an entire infrastructure or discard previously purchased PC radio cards. It also supports Enterasys’ User Personalized Networking, a unique policy-based system that enables resource allocation based on individual users and their roles, to provide additional security, bandwidth management, and access control. The RoamAbout PC card uses radio frequencies instead of a LAN connection, seamlessly switching access points as the user moves about the network. Enterasys’s higher education customers include Oberlin College, Sinclair Community College, and Tulane University.

Contact: Enterasys Networks, Andover, MA; (978) 684-1000;

Symbol’s local area networking, Spectrum24, is a wireless classroom solution that relies on handheld devices. The goal is to overcome insufficient or inconvenient data drops, provide students with ready access to technology tools, and simplify technology use for teachers. Administrators, teachers, and security personnel have instant access to student records. Symbol uses bar code laser scanning to facilitate the creation of a completely mobile and interactive classroom.

Contact: Symbol Technologies, Holtsville, NY; (631) 738-5451;

Wired Networking
Yipes Communications IP Over Fiber Networking
Yipes Communications uses the Ethernet and IP networking to link businesses and campuses to the Internet via high-speed optical fiber. Yipes sells bandwidth on demand. Users pay as they go only for what they use. Yipes connects directly to the end users, covering the "last mile" that carriers typically do not cover. Because Yipes operates via Ethernet, no translating hardware and software, and thus no hardware purchases are required between its Gigabit routers and the customer. With Yipes’ managed optical IP networks, customers can scale their bandwidth use up or down in 1MB increments up to one gigabyte, with three hour's notice. Yipes products feature unique IP over fiber networking. Yipes MAN (Metro Area) provides LAN-to-LAN connectivity to increase local area network connection speeds on demand. Yipes also offers Yipes WEB, a collection of managed hosting options, network design, and implementation services.

Contact: Yipes Communications, San Francisco, CA; (977) 740-6600;

Campuses that need to network PCs and Macs together may want to turn to PC MACLAN, a connectivity solution that allows institutions to make the most of both platforms. With PC MACLAN, network users can utilize all existing AppleShare resources; create a seamless, Peer-to-Peer network of Windows PCs and Macs over a LAN, WAN, the Internet or remote dial-up; transfer files between PCs and Macs over IP or over AppleTalk; share printers by printing directly from a PC to AppleTalk or PostScript printers attached to the Mac network, or printing from a Mac to PostScript or to non-PostScript printers attached to a PC; and use a PCs as AppleShare (Mac) File Servers. PC MACLAN version 9.0 now supports files over 2GB in size and longer file names, offers expanded printer support, provides full support for OS X 10.2, supports network drives.

Contact: Miramar Systems, Santa Barbara, CA; (805) 966-2432;

Finding Wi-Fi

So you’ve decided to go wireless. Your thoughts are full of visions of conducting your business from cafes, airports, and train stations. But how do you know you’ll be able to connect once you get there? One way is to boot up your laptop and search for a signal. Or you could get the Kensington Wi-Fi finder, a little device that tells you, with the touch of a button, whether your location is a hotspot or not. Three lights indicate the strength of the available signal. The little Wi-Fi finder, which fits into a pocket, detects 802.11b, and most 802.11b/g signals from up to 200 feet away and filters out other wireless signals, including cordless phones, microwave ovens, and Bluetooth networks. The Kensington product is the only such device on the market. It retails for under $30.

Contact: Kensington, San Mateo, CA; (650) 572-2700;

Wave Three
Wave Three Software uses the Session Initiation Protocol—communication software with a real-time IP-based communication solution optimized for use by researchers, medical practitioners, and higher education professionals. Wave Three provides users with exceptionally high quality collaboration tools that combine voice, video and data applications in one suite. The SessionT product provides users unmatched flexibility supporting Voice over IP, Video over IP, application sharing, and media sharing in a single application. Moreover, Session is a SIP-based network solution is cross platform compatible and can run over standard desktop or laptop computers, using Windows 2000/XP or Mac OS X.

Contact: Wave Three, San Diego, CA; (858) 404-5500;

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