News briefs: WildPackets, Cisco, FreeWave and Trapeze in the news

WildPackets' Apdex rates the quality of user experience; Cisco released a multi-service module for Catalyst 6500 switches; FreeWave 900MHz radio provides a range of more than 60 miles; and Trapeze demos seamless mobility.

WildPackets gives apps thumbs-up/down
Now that applications are faster and better, their performance needs to be gauged. Welcome to "Application Idol," where WildPackets Inc. plays the roles of Randy, Paula and Simon, and applications run the risk of falling victim to their criticism.

The Walnut Creek, Calif.-based vendor last week announced that support for the Application Performance Index (Apdex) has been wrapped into the WildPackets OmniAnalysis Platform version 4.0. Apdex rates the level of satisfaction or quality of experience of users, ranging from frustrated to tolerating to satisfied.

Tying Apdex scores into application analysis, the OmniAnalysis Platform gives IT organizations a way to find and fix application problems affecting the work and experience of users. For example, a poor rating could indicate loss of productivity.

Application response time, round-trip network delay, server responsiveness, database transactions per second, and the number of turns are all measures of how well the network is performing. Those same metrics, however, don't reflect the effect of application performance on business objectives such as return on investment owing to application changes, network upgrades, database rollouts, and server upgrades.

Using the newest OmniAnalysis Platform as the stage, Apdex scores can be computed for all applications and user activities, such as Web surfing, e-mail, SQL-based order entry, and CRM applications. The index returns a score between 0 and 1, with 0 meaning no users are satisfied and the application's performance is abysmal (William Hung). A score of 1 means all users are satisfied and the application performed at the top of its game (Kelly Clarkson).

Apdex measures the responsiveness of the application -- the information a user needs to complete a task or move on to the next step, such as the time it takes to load a Web page. Using the rating, IT departments can now determine whether a notable change in a monitored metric such as network utilization or a major IT upgrade is having an impact on the end user.

Cisco speeds app pace with ACE
Keeping with its recent theme of application delivery and acceleration, networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. has released its Application Control Engine (ACE), a multi-service module for Catalyst 6500 switches, and announced enhancements to its Application Velocity System (AVS).

ACE features up to 16 gbps of throughput, multi-layer security and, as its cornerstone, the ability to set up hundreds of virtual partitions with per-partition resource allocation and role-based access control, according to Sangeeta Anand, Cisco's vice president of product marketing for application delivery.

The ACE consolidates functions such as server load balancing and off-load, application acceleration, and application-layer security, giving IT the ability to control the infrastructure centrally while delegating application administration to separate operational teams.

The enhancement to the Cisco AVS appliance, which works seamlessly with ACE, adds application inspection and protection while eliminating more application vulnerabilities, Anand said.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco said the pairing can halve application response times. Additional ACE modules can be installed in the Catalyst 6500 chassis for faster throughput.

ACE can be managed by using Cisco Application Networking Manager, a GUI-based multiple device manager, a command line interface, or an XML-based application programming interface.

FreeWave throws out big signals
FreeWave has raised the bar in high-throughput, long-range wireless communication with the introduction of the FGR-HTplus, a 900MHz radio that provides a range of more than 60 miles and can be extended further through the use of repeaters. The FGR-HTplus is designed for top performance in the most challenging of RF environments, making it ideally suited for mission-critical applications. The radio's frequency-hopping technology provides superior interference rejection, thereby ensuring reliable and accurate data transfer.

FreeWave also introduced its newest communications protocol, the FGRIO Modbus system. Through Modbus, customers can access more I/O points on a network. By combining a simplified network design with greater error detection, FGRIO Modbus provides for even more savings on wire replacement than in any other wireless communications network.

Voice-over-wireless for real
WLAN infrastructure provider Trapeze Networks demonstrated seamless mobility between a Wi-Fi and cellular network. Trapeze and DiVitas Networks, a provider of unified mobility solutions for enterprise networks, teamed up to successfully demonstrate interoperability between each company's wireless platforms over any dual-mode handset that supports Windows Mobile 05. The companies tested a voice-over-wireless application, handing off voice-over-wireless LAN calls from a Trapeze WLAN to the cellular network, for seamless roaming. In conjunction with this interoperability test, Trapeze unveiled new Mobility System Software (MSS), plus a new series of wireless LAN Mobility Exchange switches – the MX-200 and MX-216 – both of which are fully optimized to support the Wi-Fi-to-cellular convergence.

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