News Briefs

Update on dicey spec

The IEEE 802.20 working group’s last meeting devolved into chaos, further calling into question the wireless standard’s chances for success. According to minutes of an Albuquerque, N.M. get-together on Nov. 10, some WG members stormed out in protest of a controversial election that ultimately made Jerry Upton chair. Earlier this year disgruntled participants accused others of highjacking the group, with intent to undermine 802.20’s development. The accusers said the usurpers come from 3G-minded companies, whose interests would be hurt by 802.20, a protocol meant to provide high-speed mobile wireless connections. Upton is a consultant for Qualcomm Inc., a 3G-focussed firm. Network World Canada chronicled 802.20’s rocky start in “Politics may kill new spec,” May 16, 2003, page one.

Linking up

Interlink Networks Inc. and Trapeze Networks Inc. announced last month that they have partnered to help large enterprises get over the hurdle of 802.11 wireless LAN (WLAN) deployment. Through the partnership, Interlink – a network security and access control software developer – will provide user management, while WLAN systems provider Trapeze will take care of the physical network, according to Interlink. Trapeze takes care of the wireless LAN, including access points and their deployment and manageability while Interlink supplies the management of the users.

Bridging a security gap

Carleton University in Ottawa opened a new computer security research centre on November in part to focus on narrowing the gap between academic theoretical research and practical business applications. The venture, funded by Ottawa-based Cloakware Corp. and the provincial and federal governments, will focus on improving computer security while still remaining true to academic research. Studying everything from ways to reduce a hacker’s ability to reverse engineer software to stopping viruses and worms through better understanding of their characteristics, professor Paul Van Oorschot and his team of computer scientists will delve into the internal workings of computer security. Traditionally there has been an uneasy relationship between business and academia as their goals are often at different ends of the spectrum. Trying to make a profit from a technology idea and trying to fundamentally understand the technology are often divergent, and financially mutually exclusive, goals.

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