Cisco engine drives wireless Web

Government agencies looking to deliver Web content to wireless phones, personal digital assistants and other devices can do just that with a new tool from Cisco Systems Inc.

The Cisco CTE 1400 Series Content Transformation Engine is the company's first appliance-based solution to deliver Web content to Wireless Application Protocol phones, personal digital assistants and Cisco IP phones.

The single rack-unit converts HTML and XML data formats for devices with special display requirements, said Chris Westphal, product manager for the Internet Systems Business Unit at Cisco. The CTE unit is seen as further extending the Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data.

AVVID is already being used by a many government agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service, the Office of the Inspector General, the Census Bureau and numerous military agencies. Cisco will target those agencies as potential users of the CTE unit, as well any others attempting to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, Westphal said.

"As part of that act, federal agencies are required to provide a version of Web content that does not contain graphics for use with TTY terminals," he said. "The CTE can help these customers comply with this requirement quite easily with a few simple rules."

After client devices call for content, the Cisco CTE requests the content from back-end servers. It acts as a Web server to the client device and as a client device to the Web server, according to a release from the San Jose, Calif.-based company.

The product includes technology from WebUnwired Inc. that transforms the content properly for each device type, sending only essential information that's formatted to fit the screen and memory requirements of the specific device.

Agency network administrators would use CTE Design Studio, a graphical user interface-based tool, to define rules for how content—either Internet-based or inside intranets or extranets—will appear on a specific device. Then, the transformation rules can be modified to fit other document types or devices and be downloaded to multiple Cisco CTE's anywhere in the network.

The tool can be installed into any network infrastructure without requiring changes to existing hardware or back-end software. Each Cisco CTE supports up to 10,000 simultaneous users and 1,400 concurrent active sessions per unit.

The Cisco CTE also supports security features such as Secure Sockets Layer sessions and works with existing virtual private networks and login-authentication. It has a list price of $69,995 and will be available by the end of the month, according to the company.

Government agencies are involved in testing the new product, but Westphal said, "We are not able to provide their information at this time."

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