• United States

How we did it

Feb 09, 20042 mins
Network Security

How we tested the various mobile middleware products.

Our basic test network consisted of six Fast Ethernet subnet domains connected via Cisco and Perl routers. We set up Internet links through wireless access points, dial-up and T-1 lines. Our client and server platforms included Windows NT/XP/98/2000, Unix (AIX), Red Hat Linux, Novell NetWare and Macintosh System 8. The relational databases on the network were Oracle 8i, Sybase Adaptive Server and Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Microsoft Exchange 2000 with Service Pack 3 was our e-mail and groupware platform. Windows and NetWare both shared files, while Internet Information Server, Netscape and Apache software served Web pages. The network’s protocols were TCP/IP, IPX, AppleTalk and SNA. We used an Agilent Advisor protocol analyzer to monitor network traffic during the tests.

The test environment’s wireless devices included an HP Pocket PC, a Palm Tungsten T3 and an HP/Compaq Tablet PC running Windows XP Tablet Edition. JP Mobile also sent us a pair of Samsung and Compaq Pocket PCs.

We ran the products’ server components on a Compaq ProLiant ML570 Server with four Pentium III CPUs, 2G bytes of RAM and a 135G-byte hard disk. The operating system was Windows Advanced Server 2000, with Service Pack 4.

We used two inhouse-developed vertical market applications plus e-mail, Web server, database query and miscellaneous office productivity tasks as a test framework. The two custom-built applications were an automobile insurance rate/quote package and a Web-based search engine process for querying a financial database. The insurance rating software is what an agent uses to provide a price for your automobile insurance. A financial adviser would use the financial database search software to help a client build a retirement plan or investment portfolio.

We evaluated each product’s ability to provide mobile (wireless) access to the applications. We looked for ease of use, comprehensive access to a variety of wireless devices, adherence to standards, platform neutrality, clear documentation and easy installation. We also noted any special features a product might exhibit.