A new all-in-one wireless LAN (WLAN) product from Symbol enables a range of wireless devices as well as specialised equipment, such as barcode readers, to be centrally managed and updated.

The Symbol Mobility Services Suite (MSS) runs on a dedicated server and includes Symbol's existing WLAN management products, such as AirBeam Manager, with a Web-based control panel, and is loaded on a rack-mounted IBM eServer. Software running on wireless clients allow access points and switches to be managed.

The Web control interface ties the programs together and lets sysadmins visually sort the WLAN elements, including users, by groups, locations, user classes, applications and other criteria. You can also reconfigure devices, update software, and monitor and analyse radio signals.

The agents monitor a range of functions on devices. When they find an anomaly or specific change, they send an alert back to the management console. These alerts can then be sent back to an enterprise management system such as Computer AssociatesÂ’ Unicenter or HP's Openview. The agents also make it possible to monitor the results of scheduled software installations, such as a new application version or a patch.

Future releases of Symbol's WLAN switches, thin access points and PocketPC-based handhelds will ship with the agents already loaded, says Gary Kovacs, Symbol's senior director of product management.

The first version of MSS will ship in June, and Symbol is planning a second version for later this year with additional agents to support more access points, and client devices typically found in enterprise wireless deployments, such as older DOS-based bar code scanners and PalmOS PDAs.

A tool set, MSS Studio, can be used to build custom management applications that can run on various operating systems.