Microsoft promotes Win CE gateways for WiFi

Four wireless networking equipment makers will use Microsoft's Windows CE .Net 4.2 operating system in gateway devices for both...

Four wireless networking equipment makers will use Microsoft's Windows CE .Net 4.2 operating system in gateway devices for both corporate and home networks.

Device makers Abocom Systems, Accton Technology, D-Link Systems and Mitsubishi will release wireless gateway devices using Windows CE .net 4.2 later this year, said Jawad Khaki, vice president of Windows networking and communications for Microsoft, during his keynote address at the 802.11 Planet Conference in Boston..

"Windows CE uses a broad set of features to allow companies to rapidly build secure network gateways," Khaki said. Devices based on Windows CE .net 4.2 can make use of several security protocols, including WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), 802.1x, and PEAP (Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol).

Khaki outlined Microsoft's vision of its "dream" wireless network, which requires networking equipment that is secure and easy to deploy "out of the box". The convergence of voice and data also requires that wireless networks be able to transmit audio and video just like a wired network, without interruptions or delays, he added.

The market for wireless network equipment is evolving as more corporations deploy wireless networks in their offices, industry analysts said during a panel discussion after the keynote.

Wireless access points and routers have typically sprung up around the edge of a company's network, but companies will want to bring some of that equipment into a centralised location for easier management, said Aaron Vance, an industry analyst with Synergy Research Group.

Much of that centralisation stems from security threats that are both overhyped and frighteningly real, said Julie Ask, a senior analyst with Jupiter Research. The issues have been slightly overblown by a raft of wireless security companies trying to make a name for themselves, but a third of companies thinking about deploying a wireless network cite security problems as a barrier.

Secure equipment is paramount to protecting networks against rogue users looking to steal information and viral attacks against wireless networks, said Russ Craig, research director for Aberdeen Group. There have been enough examples of rogue users gaining access to confidential company data for IT managers to take the threats seriously, especially in industries such as health care where secure networks are now a legal requirement, he added.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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