Secure office links from anywhere
TCS devices give remote network, phone connections a boostFollow @infoworld
The SwiftLink 2300 encrypts data and voice traffic using 3DES commercial encryption. And if your enterprise does highly classified government work that requires higher security, you can add -- for approximately $6,300 more --government-level encryption, meeting NSA Type 1 requirements. If you’re connecting to the outside world using the 10/100 Ethernet switch, you can only use commercial encryption because the government encryption devices require a specific communications protocol that won’t currently work with Ethernet.
The TCS engineers and I headed out to a truly remote area to test the SwiftLink 2300. Setup required a spot where the satellite antenna could see the southern sky; it was quickly completed, and we placed the 2300 in the back of a Hyundai SUV to use the vehicle’s 12-volt DC supply.
Unfortunately, it turned out that the Hyundai’s convenience port didn’t work, so we got a chance to test the 2300’s internal battery power. TCS says the batteries are good for about 20 minutes, but in our test they lasted closer to a half hour.
I learned several things out there in the weeds. One is that the 10-minute setup time is a little conservative; I was looking at Web pages in slightly under 10 minutes. Second, as expected from the use of a geosynchronous satellite, latency is an issue and is especially noticeable during voice communications. And third, you will get some strange looks from people who happen by -- the device does look like something found in a sci-fi film -- so it’s probably good that the unit lives in a nondescript black backpack when not in use.
When I returned to a more civilized setting, I confirmed that the 2300 works just as nicely over Ethernet connections, including commercial connections similar to what you might find in a hotel room.
The 2300 contains a pair of console ports to connect to the unit with a laptop and manage its internal components, including the Ethernet switch and the internal router. Unfortunately, you must manage these components separately. A more integrated management approach would be better, saving time and reducing the chance of management errors. However, the four Ethernet ports allow you to connect more users or other Ethernet devices, so you do get a little more scalability to balance out the slightly more involved management.
Overall, the SwiftLink 2300 performed very well. I was impressed by the portability, ease-of-deployment, and quality of communications -- satellite latency notwithstanding. Because the device is designed to be used by people with little or no telecom training, normal ease-of-use is quite good.
SwiftLink 5110 Portable Cell Site
Don’t you just hate it when you’re on the road and end up working in a spot with no cell service? That won’t be a problem with the SwiftLink 5110, a portable GSM cell site.