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SMB Routers

You might think there is little going on in wired small-business routers, but Adtran and Multi-Tech Systems each had a bit of news. Actually, Multi-Tech's news is pretty major - the redesign of its entire RouteFinder product line. While bringing its products in compliance with the EU's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, Multi-Tech took the opportunity to revamp the line.

The RF820 RouteFinder SOHO has a new processor providing better performance while the new RF830 is essentially a dual-WAN version of the RF820. Both products include 4 port 10/100 switches, SPI firewalls, RS232 ports for dial-up failover and support up to 10 IPSec VPN tunnels. The RF830 can use its two WAN ports in either load-balancing or auto failover mode. The RF820 has a MSRP of $299, while the RF830 comes in at $349.

The higher-end RouteFinder line includes the RF850 and RF860 supporting 50 and 100 IPsec tunnels respectively. Both products include spam filtering and optional email virus detection and content filtering. MSRP's are $1299 and $1699 respectively.

Adtran announced the integration of Websense's Web Security Suite into select NetVanta routers, namely the 3305, 4305 and 5305. The Websense suite blocks spyware, phishing and pharming expoits as well as backchannel communications from any spyware and keylogging applications that attempt to "phone home".

Draft 11n Not Spoken Here

What I don't expect to see at Interop are announcements of enterprise draft 802.11n products, although Belkin had some news on Monday in that area . Despite WLAN chip vendor claims to the contrary, the draft standard still has a long way to go. Enterprises generally stay far away from deploying pre-standard WLAN gear since the potential benefits are far outweighed by the problems that can be caused by half-baked gear. Businesses stayed away from the draft 802.11g frenzy and can be expected to sit out the draft 802.11n follies too.

That said, I'm scheduled for a sit-down with Marvell and will also try to schedule some time with Broadcom. I'd like to see how much they're enjoying the early negative reviews of their draft 11n products and the growing chorus of "don't buy draft 11n products".

I'll also be visiting with Airgo to see what their plans are to fix the legacy 802.11 b/g interference problems in their third-generation MIMO chipset. I'll also probe them to see when they plan to have draft-11n products out. Of course, they'll probably rather talk about the ASUS A6T laptop announced yesterday.

The A6T incorporates an AMD Turion 64 X2 multi-core processor and is the first notebook to have embedded Airgo "Gen3" wireless. Showing that it is no slouch at marketing hype, Airgo is billing the A6T as "faster than wired", and "providing users faster-than-Ethernet networking speeds". Apparently, the Airgo marketing team would have us forget about the existence of gigabit and 10 gigabit Ethernet...

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