the Pipeline

Canon's laser cannon beams data

Don't bother threatening the occupants of the next office building with your Canobeam. The device sounds intimidating, but it's actually a high-speed network component, designed to beam data across open spaces that can exceed a mile.

Canon Inc. officials released three new Canobeam products with varying data speeds and distances. The technology is longer range and more narrowly focused than wireless technologies based on radio waves.

The DT-110, DT-120 and DT-130 balance various data rates, ranges and prices. The DT-130 can send data at 1.25 gigabits/sec up to about three-quarters of a mile. The DT-120 is slower, topping out at about 156 megabits/sec, but it sends the data up to one and a quarter miles. The Canobeams require a clear line of sight to connect, said Gordon Tubbs, assistant director of Canon's Broadcast and Communications Division.

The technology, broadly called free-space optics, has been around for about 15 years, but it is catching on in the government market now, Tubbs said. "We're finding now that interest is growing very rapidly."

Back with more stuff

Altiris Inc. officials released their Asset Management Suite Version 6, which they say is the "most significant release in a year and a half" of a new version of the tool for managing information technology assets.

According to Matt French, segment manager for asset management at Altiris, the software offers a number of new capabilities. It can discover IT assets, including machines and applicationsk, and can automatically put information about assets into a repository and manage all the relationships among them.

The system can understand the relationships among IT assets and users, cost centers and even contracts, French said. If the status of an asset changes — for example, if a network server is taken off the network — the management suite can predict how that will affect other assets that were related to it.

However, it cannot remember where you put your reading glasses.

"Some of these changes are a huge step forward," said Mark Magee, Altiris' segment manager for client management, sidestepping the reading glasses question. "This is a major update, a major release. It's two years in the making."

Also, Corda Technologies Inc. officials released Highwire, a tool to generate PDF files from HTML pages. The product retains the on-screen formatting of the Web page, making it easier to print without losing data, according to company officials. n

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