Wireless LAN extension keeps connections up

Wireless LAN extension keeps connections up

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

A wireless extension from WRQ Inc. of Seattle can keep mobile and handheld clients in persistent contact with a LAN.

NetMotion 1.0 provides manageability and a degree of security over wireless links, but its claim to fame is maintaining connections while users roam between subnets or even go out of range.

NetMotion client software runs on portable devices under Microsoft Windows 9x. The server software runs under Windows NT. It works with standard network access points and wireless network interface cards, using standard protocols such as TCP/IP, User Datagram Protocol/IP, the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol and the Simple Network Management Protocol. According to WRQ, mobile users have access to all server applications.

Demand for wireless mobile access to LANs is growing as the price of portable hardware drops and transmission rates increase, said Chris Crane, manager of WRQ's mobile access business unit. Wireless NICs that deliver up to 11 Mbps cost as little as $140, Crane said.

The NetMotion server manages the connection between client and network. If the client goes out of range of a wireless access point, the server holds the session open, restoring it where it broke off after a connection is re-established.

Good for you?

NetMotion has optional Data Encryption Standard encryption for sensitive information. 'There is a bit of a performance hit, so you want to consider whether it is appropriate for your environment,' Crane said. 'It is not a virtual private network, and we're not trying to position this as a security solution.'

NetMotion's Windows 9x clients are available now. WRQ plans to release Windows 2000 and Windows CE clients later this year.

The client software is free. Server licenses cost $120 per concurrent connection, priced in 25-user increments.

Contact WRQ at 800-872-2829.

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