Six products worth a look-see -- surprisingly

Network World Lab testers didn’t expect much from these products, but once they got them in their labs, they discovered surprisingly good features or performance

Six products surprise lab testers.

Category: Browser

Highlights: Offers tabbed browsing, high security, speed, lots of other features

The tester’s take: “The Opera 9 browser is pretty darn good and we just used it as a control case in our recent browser test. I think few people really give it a whirl,” says Thomas Powell, founder of Web development firm PINT.

Interesting to know: That browser test was meant to pit IE against Firefox, with Opera only used to show an alternative view of style-sheet compliance and the like. Yet in some instances, Opera outperformed both the others.

Read the test here >>

VONEXUS, ENTERPRISE INTERACTION CENTER (EIC)

Category: IP PBX

Highlights: This Windows IP PBX with softphone integrates with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange.

The tester’s take: The SIP softphone is what makes this product “like a call center-in-a-softphone. Features can be opened up by administrative permission,” says Anthony Mosco, test engineer for Miercom, an independent test lab. The softphone can handle inbound and outbound calls, with sophisticated in-queue and routing features.

Interesting to know: EIC includes a choice of Polycom or Hitachi SIP handsets.

Read more about it here >>

Network World Lab testers didn’t expect much from these products, but once they got them in their labs, they discovered surprisingly good features or performance

NETDEVICES, SG-4 SERVICES GATEWAY

Category: Multifunction router

Highlights: Integrates firewall, denial-of-service protection, application-level gateway, intrusion prevention, IPSec VPN, Ethernet switching and other services.

The tester’s take: “Low-cost, multifunction, easily scalable/upgradeable, high performance for the price point,” says Anthony Mosco, test engineer for Miercom, an independent test lab.

Interesting to know: Former Cisco executives founded the company.

Read the story here >>

JUNIPER, UNIFIED ACCESS CONTROL (UAC)

Category: Network access control (NAC) software

Highlights: Network access control software that complies with the open-standard NAC scheme, Trusted Network Connect.

The tester’s take:Juniper took the brain trust from Funk [Software], combined it with a lot of expertise in SSL VPN policy definition, and came up with a solid and credible first stab at the NAC policy-management problem,” says Joel Snyder, senior partner for Opus One, a security consulting firm

Interesting to know: The UAC software is really just an agent integrated with Juniper’s Infranet controller policy-management server, but it works with any 802.1X-enabled device.

Read the story here >>

Network World Lab testers didn’t expect much from these products, but once they got them in their labs, they discovered surprisingly good features or performance

NOKIA, E61

Category: Smart phone

Highlights: Offers push e-mail and calendar.

The tester’s take: “Just another slow cell phone, right? Not so fast. This one is going to give BlackBerry a run for its money. With built-in SIP and Wi-Fi, Nokia might have an enterprise-class winner here,” says Snyder, senior partner for Opus One.

Interesting to know: The E61 is aimed at the Asia/Europe market with the E62 available in the United States via AT&T (formerly Cingular). However, the E62 does not support Wi-Fi and the E61 is an unlocked GSM device, which means it can be configured to work with U.S. GSM networks such as AT&T/Cingular.

Watch the video here >>

CITRIX SYSTEMS, WANSCALER

Category: WAN optimization appliance

Highlights: This appliance automatically applies various performance boosting techniques to each data flow.

The tester’s take: “A powerful high-speed file transfer and WAN-optimization device, it offers impressive speed and compression power for backup/restore or other high-density file transmissions,” says Anthony Mosco, test engineer for Miercom, an independent test lab.

Interesting to know: Citrix acquired this product when it bought its creator, Orbital Data in August 2006.

Read the Q&A here >>

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