Check Point has a new firewall/VPN app that supports wireless access, making it easier to setup LANs and WANs in branch offices.

Called VPN-1 Edge W, it supports VPN tunnels between wireless devices and an access point built into the device, thereby protecting data crossing the wireless connection.

Using Wi-Fi to connect local devices to the WAN and each other can reduce wiring costs in small offices and make it simpler for roaming workers with laptops to tap into corporate resources when they pop into branch offices. The marrying of a firewall/VPN appliance with access points is not new. SonicWall has had such hybrids since 2003.

The device also can set up a separate tunnel across the Internet to another VPN gateway and bridge that tunnel to the local wireless devices. Users log on once to make the wireless IPSec tunnel, and the machine automatically sets up the second.

The box also includes a four-port Ethernet switch for networking other devices on the LAN and a WAN port for connecting to the Internet. It has an additional Ethernet port that can be configured as a port to a DMZ or as a second WAN port, so an office could connect to two ISPs for redundancy.

The device includes print server software, so it can support a range of needs in a branch office via one device managed by SmartCenter, Check Point's security management console.

The access point supports 802.11b, 802.11g and the faster Super-G. It also boosts power in the access point to extend its range from 330 to 990 feet indoors and from 0.2 to 0.62 miles outdoors.

VPN-1 Edge W comes in four models, all based on the same hardware platform but supporting differing numbers of user licenses, which are reflected in the model numbers. VPN-1 Edge W 8 comes with eight licenses and costs $800 (£423); VPN-1 Edge W16 costs $1,000 (£528); VPN-1 Edge W 32 costs $1,400 (£740); and VPN-1 Edge W U (unlimited) costs $2,200 (£1,1630.The models support one, five, 10 and 25 simultaneous remote-access VPN users.