• United States
by Staff Writers

Weis tapped to lead Cometa

Mar 31, 20034 mins

Also: NaviSite to buy Conxion; a drive to use CDMA in Iraq; Al-Jazeera hit by DDoS attack; and more

  • Wi-Fi hot-spot builder Cometa Networks last week chose Gary Weis to be its CEO. Weis replaces interim CEO Larry Brilliant, who headed up the Cometa team searching for a permanent executive. Cometa is a start-up wireless LAN company, funded by AT&T Wireless, IBM Global Services, Intel Capital and a pair of venture capital funds. Its goal is to build a nationwide system of public access wireless LAN sites, dubbed hot spots. Weis has held senior posts in the IT department at Sears, was president and COO of the Advantis network, a joint venture by Sears and IBM, and later an executive within IBM. In 2000, Weis was named CEO of Concert Communications, a joint venture launched by AT&T and British Telecom.
  • Consolidation continues in the hosting market with the news that managed application and managed infrastructure company NaviSite plans to acquire managed hosting firm Conxion. NaviSite announced last week that it had signed an agreement to buy Conxion for $1.93 million. Conxion brings more than 195 customers to NaviSite, including Computer Associates,, LSI Logic and Seagate. Conxion, which links its data centers with its Tier-1 global IP network, provides software distribution services for many of its customers, including Oracle. The acquisition, which is subject to customary conditions and approvals, is the latest for NaviSite, which acquired ClearBlue Technologies Management in December and application management firm Avasta in February.
  • Arab television station Al-Jazeera last week struggled to fend off a distributed denial-of-service attack against both its Arabic- and English-language Web sites soon after posting images of American troops captured by Iraqis, after which some U.S. soldiers were executed. Al-Jazeera said its Web sites, hosted by DataPipe in Hoboken, N.J., were inundated with traffic in excess of 200M bit/sec. The Web sites typically receive about 50/M bit/sec of traffic. By the end of the week, hackers calling themselves the “Freedom Force Militia” had successfully replaced Al-Jazeera’s English-language Web site with a U.S. flag and the message “Let Freedom Ring.”
  • U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) last week defended his call for U.S. agencies planning to rebuild Iraq after the war to use Code Division Multiple Access instead of a popular mobile technology used in the Middle East, saying that U.S. companies should benefit from the effort. Issa sent a letter to the Department of Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development asking them to build a wireless system in Iraq based on CDMA instead of the rival GSM equipment that French and German companies produce. Issa also introduced a bill requiring the federal agencies to use CDMA technology while rebuilding Iraq, and requiring preference be given to U.S. contractors for all government rebuilding efforts. Wireless analysts have criticized Issa’s plan as out of step with most other wireless services in the Middle East, potentially creating problems with roaming. Issa, who represents part of the San Diego area, wants to support U.S. companies in the rebuilding effort, including CDMA pioneer Qualcomm, which is based in San Diego but outside of Issa’s district.
  • Brocade Communications this week is expected to unveil a major upgrade to the software for its Fibre Channel switches that will give users greater availability and reliability for storage-area networks. The company says it will enhance the Fabric Operating Environment running on its Silkworm Fibre Channel switches by adding security and other reliability features such as hot code load, which lets administrators load new software without taking the switch down or reinitializing it. Brocade’s Fabric Operating Environment is the underlying operating system software for its entry- to director-level switches. The company says it will add an optional security suite, advanced manageability tools and other high-availability features. The security suite includes digital certificate and digital signature use, as well as multiple levels of password protection.