SonicWall boosts wireless remote office support

TZ190 appliance to go where wired broadband cannot

SonicWall plans to introduce a remote-office appliance that eliminates the need for wired connections to the sites where it is deployed.

The TZ 190 has a PCMCIA slot and software drivers to support broadband wireless cards that are compatible with services offered by such U.S. broadband wireless providers as Cingular, Sprint and Verizon, making it possible to use the device in areas where wired broadband connections are unavailable.

In addition, the broadband capability could be used to back up a landline if the wired service fails.

The company says the TZ 190 could be used in retail stores that want to roll out broadband remote access to headquarters. Many chain stores have locations that cannot get wired broadband services, so the wireless option could fill in. And airports might lack wiring to connect retail kiosks to broadband connections for credit card checks, but a broadband wireless service might be available.

The device also supports wired WAN connections that fail over to the wireless link. SonicWall has worked with makers of the cards that are compatible with the providers' services, and says the TZ 190 supports those cards.

With a firewall, VPN support, virus screening and intrusion prevention included in the appliance, it competes against branch-office security gateway gear from Cisco, Juniper and WatchGuard, although they lack broadband wireless support.

In addition to the broadband support, the TZ 190 contains an eight-port 10/100Mbps Ethernet switch that can segment traffic into virtual LANs that enforce different security zones. So certain workstations attached to the switch could be restricted to use of the Internet and the office printer but not certain application servers.

The device is based on an upgraded hardware platform compared with previous TZ devices. The processor is a 200MHz Cavium Nitrox, and the box has 128MB of RAM and 16MB of flash memory. This compares with 64MB of RAM and 8MB of flash in the TZ 170.

The switch is manageable via command-line interface through a console port, and also has a Web interface. TZ 190 costs US$1,000.

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