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Microsoft's WiFi Lockdown

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) gets deeper into WiFi security, DiVitas Networks Inc. wins Symbol Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SBL)'s approval, and wireless Skype Ltd. calls get small in the pre-Turkey Day new-product jamboree.

Siemens Takes a NAP: Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) has integrated its HiPath WiFi manager software with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s network access protection (NAP) code so that network admins can monitor users joining a wireless network and enforce security policies.

A policy enforcement technology built into the Windows Vista and Windows Server operating systems, Network Access Protection is intended to enable better safeguard systems from viruses and other nasties that WiFi-enabled laptops could be harboring. The technology will be publicly available with Beta 2 of Windows Vista, and available to select partners and customers with Beta 2 of the future version of Windows Server, codenamed "Longhorn."

Typically these kinds of WiFi quarantine systems have been offered as an add-ons from third-party vendors rather than incorporated in the operating system of a PC. Recently, however, both Microsoft and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) have started to integrate more of this protection into their respective product lines. Cisco's technology is called "network access control." (See Cisco, Intel Collaborate.) Siemens says that one of the major advantages of integrating the Microsoft software is that IT managers can avoid duplicating their network security infrastructure for wireless users. NAP enables a single administration interface for corporate systems.

Symbolic Call: Fixed/mobile convergence startup DiVitas Networks Inc. has made good on its partnership with No. 2 enterprise WiFi vendor Symbol Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SBL). The firm says that its Mobile Convergence Appliance and Mobile Convergence Client for dual-mode handsets has been approved by Symbol's Solutions Validation Program, and will bear the SymbolPLUS Validated Software logo.

The software was tested with Symbol's MC70 wireless Digital Assistant. DiVitas worked with Symbol to test and co-validate wireless voice calls on the Symbol WiFi network, moving to-and-from a GPRS/GSM cellular network, and maintaining a connection without interruption.

DiVitas is already something of a hot ticket in the VC world. The Symbol kite-mark will, however, give the startup more clout in the real world. With the Symbol validation and as a member of the Symbol PartnerSelect ISV Partner Program, DiVitas can engage in joint technical, sales, and marketing programs with its larger partner. (See DiVitas Grabs VC Cash.)

It's not yet clear how Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s planned takeover of Symbol will affect the DiVitas partnership. (See Moto's Symbolic Convergence) So far, however, Motorola has offered little indication that it plans to radically alter the way that Symbol works in the enterprise space.

The Cradle Will Talk: SOHO 802.11 vendor SMC Networks Inc. is trying to take the all-in-one concept to a new level. The vendor has been shipping a Skype-enabled WiFi phone since August. Now it is introducing two charging cradles for the device, one of which has a built-in WiFi access point.

The cradle is another illustration of how crazy cheap even miniaturized WiFi products have become. The SMCDPCR-AP cradle/access point will be available in December, at a cost of $70.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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