Though the Networld Interop trade show, recently held in Las Vegas, tends to feature enterprise-grade networking wares, two areas in particular kept things interesting for SOHO and SMB networkers: wireless and an ongoing trend that sees formerly "enterprise-grade" technologies finding their way into consumer-grade gear.
Representatives from Netgear and D-Link gave us a quick tour of their upcoming products. D-Link's representatives, in particular, noted that as more and more small offices come to demand more from their networks, there's definite pressure to migrate capabilities previously seen only in their higher-end kit. Management features, in particular, are at the top of the list for many small businesses.
A number of announcements covering everything from malware audits to all-in-one appliances covered the security bases at Interop.
Panda announced its Malware Radar, a Web-based "automated malware audit service for companies from five to thousands of seats." The product searches networks for malware, scans endpoints for vulnerabilities and evaluates their anti-virus/malware protection. The company says it has an extended signature file of more than 950,000 signatures for the product, which works with software from other vendors and requires no installation.
D-Link announced the NetDefend DFL-S500 firewall, which it plans to ship this quarter, though it hasn't announced a price. The DFL-S500 is built on a desktop chassis, and will ship with "seven LAN ports, two WAN ports, and a user-configurable port to support local servers such as e-mail, Web, and FTP." It will also provide an SSL VPN, remote access via Web-based clientless access, and full network access without pre-installed client software.
The device will include a range of endpoint security and anti-virus features. Other features include remote management, bandwidth control policies, access policies and simple network management protocol (SNMP) support. The device provides e-mail alerts, system log, and consistency checks, and a firmware backup function.
3Com announced the X5 Unified Security Platform. The X5 offers 18Mbps throughput, positioning it for single-site SMBs and branch offices with up to 100 users. The device is designed to protect against worms, viruses, Trojans, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, Spyware, Phishing, VoIP threats and other attacks. Available Web content filtering can be used to prohibit the download of non-work related Web sites and offensive or illegal Web content. Used in conjunction with 3Com switches, the X5 offers endpoint quarantine.
The device ships in a 25 user and unlimited user configuration starting at $995. A subscription to 3Com/Tipping Point's Digital Vaccine or Digital Vaccine Gold is required with purchase, which add $509.99 or $705.99 to the price tag respectively.
Ask any group of interested bystanders what the next big thing in wireless will be, and you'll hear a lot about Wi-Max, the next-gen standard that promises wireless ranges of up to 30 miles, complete with a specification for mobile computing that might free us from the patchwork of Wi-Fi hotspots we deal with today. Because Wi-Max has such impressive capabilities in terms of the scale of its potential coverage area, most of the focus on Wi-Max has been on large carrier deployments.
Samsung, however, brought some attention down to small businesses when it announced last week that it plans to add Wi-Max modules to its Ubigate iBG Series of all-in-one networking devices. Look for those modules to hit the North American market later this year.
D-Link announced the xStack 3600 series of IPv6-capable switches. The company said the new series series offers "multi-layer, Gigabit switches that provides advanced security, high availability and the option to stack at up to 40Gbps." The DGS-3612G, the 12 port version of the line, is available now for purchase with an MSRP of $1,499.99. The DGS-3650 and 3627, which sport 48 and 24 ports respectively, are expected to ship in Q3. No pricing has been announced for those models.
Netgear announced the eight-port Gigabit Smart Switch (GS108T). The new device features eight 10/100/1000 Mbps ports, Web-based management and a number of features including ACLs, 802.1x port authentication, enhanced QoS, rate limiting and IGMP snooping. The device has a list price of $190 and is backed by a lifetime warranty and 24/7 technical support.
D-Link announced the VoiceCenter IP Phone System DVX-2000MS, an out-of-the-box solution designed for small businesses with 5 to 50 users. The system includes voice recognition and built-in Auto Provisioning configuration capabilities. It also offers call forwarding, call hold, find me-follow me, voicemail-to-email forwarding and voicemail retrieval over the phone. An integrated auto-attendant assists callers to their destinations.
VoiceCenter also offers personal computer (PC) contact integration with Microsoft Outlook and Windows Contact/Address Book. Businesses can also cut costs by switching to VoIP service via Windows Live Call. The D-Link VoiceCenter phone handsets include auto discovery and one-touch access to parking, retrieving, transferring, voice dialing other employees and voice dialing personal contacts.
D-Link won't be shipping the product until Q4, and no price has been announced.
Netgear and Avaya also announced a small-business-oriented VoIP package that will feature Avaya's Quick Edition peer-to-peer technology, which eliminates the need for a central phone server or PBX. The company says "Avaya Quick Edition phones contain all the software needed for business-class communications. In addition to call hold, transfer, paging and other basic functions, the phones provide advanced features such as auto attendant, conferencing, a single inbox for voice and e-mail messages, and the ability to have office calls ring on a mobile phone." NETGEAR will provide the network infrastructure for the system, including Smart Switches with power over Ethernet (PoE) capability to remotely power the phones. No ship-date or prices were announced.
Netgear announced the ReadyNAS NV+ 4-Bay Gigabit Desktop Network Storage device, which comes in three configurations offering one or two terabytes of storage. Each offers hot-swappable drives and RAID 0, 1, 5. The devices are 8 inches tall by 6 inches wide. Prices start at around $945, but DIYers might be interested in a diskless "barebones" version, available from some vendors for as little as $629.
Buffalo also bumped up the capacity of its TeraStation Pro NAS to 4 terabytes, with an attendant price hike to $3,142. The company also announced the TeraStation Live (HS-DH3.0TGL/R5) and the TeraStation Pro II (TS-H3.0TGL/R5), both available in 1- and 2-terabyte configurations and priced at $2,499. The two new models feature USB 2.0 ports for more external storage and RAID 0/1/5/10 configurations. The TeraStation Pro II model, geared for businesses, supports Active Directory and UPSes.
Remember when your 1.5 meg DSL connection seemed like more hard-cranking bandwidth than you'd ever need? Ars Technica reports that a new test from the Communications Workers of America "concluded that the average download speed in the US was 1.9Mbps." The union is backing the Broadband Census of America Act, which would "require the FCC to upgrade its definition of 'high speed' to a minimum of 2Mbps down and 1Mbps up. In theory, this would then provide some motivation for broadband providers who don't meet the technical definition of "high speed" to bump their offerings to consumers."
There are two caveats to the study and the legislation:
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation claims the average broadband speed in the US is closer to 4.8Mbps, and even if that's correct, the 2 meg connections the CWA-backed legislation would require would still put the U.S. well behind many other countries, including Canada, which averages a 7.6Mbps connection and Japan, which averages a 61.0Mbps connection.
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