Compaq looks to speed up wireless deployment

Wireless solutions can take a long time to implement, with the need for integration of hardware, software, training and support services. The Wireless Enterprise Framework, available now from Compaq Computer Corp., is incorporating all those tasks into one offering.

The framework is designed as a packaged solution that incorporates services, licences, devices, servers and the number of connectors required in the middleware environment, said Victor Garcia, managing practice principle for wireless and networking at Richmond Hill, Ont.-based Compaq Canada.

Garcia said this solution provides components to look after the device/client software, middleware server applications, the connectors to the back office applications, the VPN tunnelling software, the encryption and compression as well as total security.

“There are companies that know they would like to wirelessly enable something, but they are unsure about what applications to use, what devices to use, and whether it is cost effective,” Garcia said.

He said part of the framework would be to work with these companies to build an architecture that would work.

“There are other companies taking up wireless and we can help them create an infrastructure. If they want to try it out and minimize the risk by trying a pilot…we now have pilot projects,” he said. “This is designed to prove that wireless is viable and it works.”

Warren Wilson, director of mobile and wireless solutions practice for Boston-based Summit Strategies, said this product should address key concerns that enterprises have when evaluating wireless solutions. “Those include cost of deployment and the time it will take to put the solution in place.”

He added that Compaq has, “raised the bar for wireless service with this offer by saying: ‘We’ll give you access to this functionality within a fixed period of time for a fixed price.’ I think that appeals to the customer because it reduces the risk.”

Bob Allen, manager of advanced technologies for Winnipeg-based Wardrop Technology and CIPS member, said wireless implementations have to make economic sense at the end of the day.

He warned that people should define the geographic scope they want a framework to provide. “Is there an intersection between availability and where you need to deliver?” he challenged.

“Are people going to be able to access the network? If they can’t access it all the time, can they operate disconnected, do we have to have a stand-alone mode?”

Allen did note that providing a structured framework seems to be the next trend for wireless, as vendors try to make implementation more attractive, or easier, for the customer.

Allen also said security would be a big issue when considering the adoption rate for a framework like this. “That has to be designed into the solution. People are going to have to be pretty careful when they are going into a public Internet kind of solution. It’s not a simple plug-in kind of solution. It’s going to affect the back end.”

Garcia said the Wireless Enterprise Framework will use “virtual tunnelling” to protect encrypted data being transferred.

The framework can be configured to work with any wireless device.

Wilson said there is a lot of public attention on the consumer applications of wireless, but that business applications are the ones that will really drive deployment.

“Businesses have a competitive driver if they can use wireless to make people more effective,” he said.