Wang unveils Tempest version of Cisco router

Wang Global introduced two new Tempest networking products, including its first Tempest router, for the intelligence community and other agencies that are concerned about the security of their data.

The Wang Tempest router is based on the Cisco Systems Inc. 2514 router, and the Tempest 10/100 megabits/sec fiber-optic switch was built by Wang from the ground up. Tempest products are designed to prevent data from being radiated electronically and intercepted by unauthorized users.

"Everything emanates, and routers are particularly noisy," said Chris Wahlen, vice president of secure systems at Wang Government Services Inc. "We're not only worried about pure noise, but also data. So our process is to make a new cabinet [for the router] and filter particular lines so that they are much quieter."

Wang takes the same approach for its new switch. However, there is no commercial equivalent to a Tempest switch, so Wang built that product from scratch, Wahlen said.

Wang offers Tempest products that include PCs, networking products, servers, scanners and printers.

They are sold to the intelligence community, such as the National Security Agency and the Defense Department, which process classified data and, therefore, requires devices to be secure, Wahlen said.

The Tempest router comes with four ports: two local-area network and two wide-area network ports. It provides LAN access via two fiber-optic 802.3 ports and WAN access via two high-speed synchronous serial WAN ports. Other features include 8M or 16M of flash memory and 16M of dynamic RAM. The router will support commercially available Cisco software.

Wang is one of several Cisco's global partners and is the only company selling Tempest versions of Cisco products to the government. "Cisco has a strong relationship with Wang, and we went to them for that value add," said Jim Massa, director at Cisco Systems Federal Operations. "[Tempest] is enabling technology for Defense customers who want an end-to-end provider."

While there is still demand for Tempest products, the market is not very large, and it is shrinking, said Frank Dzubeck, president of Communications Network Architects Inc., Washington, D.C. "It is an extremely narrow market that has an ever-limited customer set," he said.

The Tempest 10/100 megabits/sec switch is a 14-port fiber-optic Ethernet switch that comes with 12 10 mega-bits/sec and two 100 megabits/sec multiple-mode fiber-optic ports, which are upgradable. The switch replaces Wang's Tempest repeater.

"The switch is almost as inexpensive as the repeater used to be, and you get 10 times the performance," Wahlen said. "As the network gets clogged up, you need to increase performance."

Both the router and the switch will be added to the Defense Intelligence Agency's Systems Acquisition and Support Services II contract as well as contracts the company has with the State Department and NATO.

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