DEMO - Alcatel-Lucent to manage laptops

Evros Project enables always-on endpoint management of mobile laptops

A project unveiled this week at DEMO 07 by Alcatel-Lucent will let enterprise network administrators reach out and touch corporate laptops anytime, anywhere.

The Evros Project has two parts: a PC Card for the laptop and a rack-mounted enterprise gateway. They work together over a wireless 3G link as a network access control (NAC), management, and security system for mobile laptops. The software controls also work over wired or wireless LANs.

"Managing laptops is a problem for the enterprise: when they're unplugged; you lose the connection with the enterprise [management] infrastructure," says Dor Skuler, director and general manager for Evros, which draws on technology from Bell Labs under the auspices of Alcatel-Lucent Ventures. "Our product controls laptops wherever they are, even if they're turned off."

The PC Card makes that possible. Skuller calls it a microappliance. In effect, it is a wireless computer that gives administrators access to the laptop. The card incorporates a cellular 3G modem, CPU, memory, battery, hardened Linux-based operating system, GPS chip to fix the laptop's location, and removable memory.

Kernel-level drivers loaded onto the laptop intercept all TCP/IP traffic and funnel it through the card, where an onboard VPN client creates an encrypted tunnel to the Evros gateway over any network connection.

"The card acts just like a mobile phone," Skuler says. "It lies dormant in deep sleep, 'listening' to the 3G net. When it's pinged, it turns itself on; creates the IPSec tunnel to the enterprise; gets new administration settings, management commands, location query; backs up data; installs a new patch or software update; and so on."

There is no user input required.

Through the card, administrators can enforce data encryption policies for files, folders, and disk via encryption keys on the card itself. If the laptop is lost or stolen, the keys can be deleted remotely, keeping the scrambled data still scrambled.

The Evros card acts as a kind of buffer: New patches or configuration changes can be downloaded over the cell network automatically during the night. When the user powers up the laptop in the morning, the changes are installed or updated automatically.

The gateway is designed as a rack-mounted appliance, with a Web management GUI for administrators. Through the GUI, administrators can set up configuration and security policies, enforced by the Evros software, and interface Evros with existing resources, such as VPNs and various back-end security, encryption, software-update, patch-management and other applications. Skuler says a single gateway can support as many as 16,000 Evros cards.

Evros will support a range of NAC applications and agents from third-party vendors. Skuler said the company is not ready to announce these partnerships, but he did say that Evros fully supports Microsoft Systems Management Server.

The initial installation uses any existing enterprise software-distribution application to download a small agent to the laptop over any available network connection. This agent contains the kernel-level drivers, which reroute packets into the card first and then into the operating system's TCP/IP stack. A user or help-desk technician plugs in the Evros card, and the rest of the automated installation takes place over the 3G network.

The Evros product is just now starting beta tests, and is not expected to be commercially ready until late this year. No pricing decisions have been made. Skuler says it's likely to be a premium, adding as much as US$100 to the average price (about $200, he says) of today's 3G adapters. That price could be subsidized in whole or in part by mobile carriers. The gateway will be priced separately. Skuler would say only that the gateway price will not be an "amount that will drop anyone's jaw."

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Shop safely with our award-winning security solution. Protect yourself this Black Friday and get the exclusive Black Friday discount for Bitdefender 2019!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?