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Backup Without Wires

For a small office or remote branch network, wireless backup of the wired network makes sense. Cisco Systems has made this setup easier by adding 3G WAN support to its integrated service routers.

The new HWICs (high-speed WAN interface cards), priced at $850 each, let the routers connect to carrier 3G networks using EV-DO or HSDPA. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and Telefonica Moviles Espana have already tested the product on their 3G networks.

While this technology has been found in SOHO broadband gateways, wireless carriers have explicitly restricted such broadband sharing or disconnected service to those that have exceeded their nontransparent usage caps. Cisco must have done its homework, as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have all apparently introduced data services that would work with Cisco's offering, but details and pricing have not been forthcoming. [email protected]--Frank Bulk