Nokia has released a range of virtual private network (VPN) products for business.

With security concerns still the number one issue swirling around wireless systems, Nokia IP VPN should come as welcome news. It includes four IP VPN gateway appliances, a mobile VPN client and management software.

Charles Koldgy, IDC security research director, said the VPN client is unique in that it allows users to log into an application on a mobile device while in the background the application seamlessly logs the user into the VPN. "This is an interesting feature because a user's initial reason to connect is to get data. Now they can log into SAP and on the back end they get the VPN."

When the user logs off the application, providing the user is not also logged into other applications, the VPN connection is closed. The four appliance gateways include Nokia 100i with 310Mbit/s performance and 590Mbit/s VPN performance when used with Nokia's IP Clustering technology.

The other three appliances, 50i, 10i and 5i, perform down to 75Mbit/s and are targeted at the small to medium business market. Only the starting price for the entry level 5i has been set, at $395.

To encourage enterprise-level companies to use wireless technology for mission critical applications, Dan Reis, senior manager, Enterprise Solutions at Nokia, said Nokia offers a patented technology called Meta-Hop that insures a user will stay connected.

The system works by allowing the Nokia gateway appliances to log and track multiple connection paths between users and the network. "If there is trouble in the Internet cloud, Meta-Hop will find a way around it," said Reis. Besides this capability, which Reis called self-healing, Meta-Hop is also self-learning in that it learns and retains network connection paths as new ones are added or old connection points are dropped.

The Nokia Manager software works with Nokia Security Service Manger which manages PKI related requirements, over-the-air provisioning and certificate-based authentication. The Mobile VPN client is supported by Symbian OS 2 operating system and is available for selected Nokia Series 60 and Series 80 handsets. It will be available from the start of February.