IT managers could soon be using wireless access points to manage company laptops at employees' homes.
Wireless networking company Aruba will soon begin selling the Remote Access Point, a product that it says will extend the corporate office network to the home.
"The next big thing is for businesses to start extending wireless networks into homes and for administrators to manage it as if it were in the office," said David Callisch, director of marketing for Aruba, on Thursday. "I give you an access point, you plug it into the DSL connection in at home and now I can manage your computer from the office."
The access point, which uses IPSec encryption technology, automatically builds a virtual private network between the office and the home. "IT managers spend a lot of time babysitting remote workers, but now when you turn on your computer [at home] they can manage it," said Callisch.
The access point uses split tunnelling, a technique that can route general traffic, such as Web browsing, straight to the Internet, and company data, such as email, via the central office network.
However, it is already a simple task for IT staff to set up a VPN on an employees laptop such that they only have to double-click on an icon to launch the connection.
Callisch said that the access point could also give employees a wireless phone connection. The Remote Access Points cost $250 (£130) each.
Aruba also launched an outdoor access point on Thursday called the Aruba 80.