New Wireless Goods for Small Businesses

Buried under the countless partnership announcements, product debuts and press releases are a pair of wireless local area network products that could be of interest to small- and medium-sized businesses.

NETGEAR launched its new ME103 ProSafe Wireless Access Point, designed to provide enterprise-class capabilities and security features at mid-market pricing. NETGEAR also launched a line of directional and omni-directional high-gain smart antennas designed to extend the range of its ProSafe wireless access points and routers, including the new ME103.

Compatible with 802.11b and 802.11g wireless networking standards, NETGEAR’s ME103 gives businesses the ability to enhance employee productivity through mobility.

Kevin Allan, NETGEAR director of business products, said the ME103 ProSafe Wireless Access Point and new antenna lineup provides small businesses with affordable wireless solutions.

“The introduction of the ME103 and our smart antenna line is designed to give network administrators in small- and medium-sized businesses secure enterprise-class wireless networking capabilities at a price point that makes adoption a reality,” Allan said.

The ME103 supports five operation modes — infrastructure, repeater, point-to-point bridging, point-to-multipoint bridging, and client access point (simple bridge). Reported to be simple to install and use, the ME103 supports simple network management protocols (SNMP) management information base (MIB) I and II for running both wired and wireless devices.

Additionally, the ME103 delivers 128-bit wired equivalent privacy (WEP) encryption and incorporates a host of enterprise-class security features including virtual private network (VPN) pass-through support and 802.1x support for extensible authentication protocols (EAP). Including EAP extensions such as MD5 and transport layer security (TLS).

Backed by a three-year warranty and 24/7 technical support, the NETGEAR ME103 ProSafe Wireless Access Point will be available in May through value-added resellers, direct marketers, and e-commerce sites, at a list price of $240.

Designed for mid-range, point-to-multipoint connections, the ANT24O5 5dBi Omni-Directional Antenna provides extended wireless range for an existing 802.11b or 802.11g WLAN in an indoor single floor environment. The wall- or ceiling-mountable antenna allows users to optimize range and wireless coverage by selecting the best location for the antenna while allowing users to the place the access point in a closet or other convenient or inconspicuous location. The ANT24O5 will be available in May at a list price of $70.

The high-gain directional ANT24D18 18dBi Patch Panel Antenna is a flexible solution that is ideal for optimizing range and wireless coverage in a variety of indoor and outdoor environments including single floor, multi-floor, and building-to-building connectivity in campus environments. Designed for long-range, point-to-point connections, the ANT24D18 is made of weatherproof, corrosion-resistant materials, and boasts a range of up to 10 miles. The ANT24D18 will also be available in May 2003 at a list price of $400.

Meanwhile, Proxim released a new network manager that makes it easier for small businesses to manage indoor or outdoor wireless networks. Operating either as a standalone program or a HP OpenView plug-in, the new version 1.4 of the Proxim Wireless Network Manager enables network administrators to easily monitor, manage and upgrade an entire indoor or outdoor wireless network from a single location.

Proxim’s Wireless Network Manager 1.4 now supports the new line of Proxim AP-600 access points for 802.11a and 802.11b networks. The Wireless Network Manager enables the administrators to manage small business networks consisting of access points located in remote and home offices, as well as outdoor point-to-point and point-to-multipoint access points and bridges, all over an IP connection.

Responding to user suggestions, the new version of the Wireless Network Manager now includes a wide range of performance and usability enhancements that make it easier and faster for administrators to manage and upgrade their wireless networks. These include improved monitoring and reporting of various wireless mode types (802.11a and 802.11b), improved defaults and single step buttons to load pre-sets and passwords.

The new version of the Wireless Network Manager is offered as a free upgrade for existing users. The Wireless Network Manager is available in a variety of options depending on network size and configuration, starting at list price of $999, which covers the Base Engine plus a 50 AP Device Module. A free evaluation version, good for 30 days, is available online.

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Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.

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