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Nortel looks to boost security and mobility in WLANs

Products due Q2

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Nortel Networks yesterday announced a set of products designed to help customers tie wireless LANs into corporate networks, with security and mobility improvements to improve the scalability of the technology.

The Canadian networking firm has developed an architecture geared to boosting security and improving wireless roaming capabilities across converging public and private networks, as well as hotspot environments.

As part of this strategy, Nortel Networks is announcing a portfolio of WLAN products designed for delivering high-bandwidth voice and data services securely and allowing end users to have anytime, anywhere access to applications such as email, voicemail and unified messaging via a personal computer, handheld device or cell phone.

Nortel Networks WLAN portfolio will initially include four core products:

  • Nortel Networks WLAN Security Switch 2250: Provides security management services, such as privileged-based access and unauthorised access detection, as well as centralised control to protect and manage mobile communications over WLANs. Additional load balancing capability will provide more efficient traffic distribution and bandwidth management; enabling network managers to maximise network availability.
  • Nortel Networks WLAN Access Point 2220: An access point to provide the first level of security to wired Ethernet networks. It also offers dual image support for operational and default settings to enable emergency repairs in hotspot deployments to be delayed until convenient. Additional features will include a WLAN hotspot feature set, dual-mode radio signalling and seamless IP roaming across different domains, including dual mode roaming between the 802.11a and b standards.
  • Nortel Networks WLAN Mobile Voice Client i2050: To support wireless IP telephony calls for pocket PCs.
  • Nortel Networks WLAN Mobile Adapter 2201: A Cardbus adapter for mobile computing devices such as laptops that will support both 802.11a and 802.11b standards.

These products are expected to be generally available in the second quarter of 2003.

These products, combined with Nortel Networks existing IP-enabled products, are positioned as a means to deliver mobile enterprise users the same services that their desktop counterparts already enjoy. Wireless operators are offered products which promise secure WLAN hotspot connectivity as an extension to existing data services.

According to Nortel, current wireless equipment offerings from vendors "rely on proprietary standards and after-market add-ons that not only impede network performance, but also limit the functionality and scalability of their networks".

As enterprises begin to scale their WLANs beyond departmental and 'hotspot' rollouts, they will demand highly manageable and scalable solutions that provide a seamless, secure user experience with their existing wired infrastructure and, ultimately, with the emerging public WLANs. Nortel wants to offer the technology pieces to build such converged networks. ®

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