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What's Push E-Mail?

Push e-mail is coming to a mobile device near you.

Everybody's doing it: messaging on their phones and PDAs. Push e-mail, which automatically synchronizes your messages with your wireless handheld as soon as they land on your mail server, is taking off like IM. The heavy lifting is done by a server that syncs your office and away inboxes so you don't have to do it manually, or continuously check for new messages. It's a small service that was quite difficult and expensive to execute when Research in Motion introduced it on its BlackBerry devices several years ago.

Now, push e-mail is getting cheaper and reaching a wider audience via BlackBerry web services. And solutions like Good Technology's Good Mobile Messaging and Visto bring push e-mail to smartphones and devices other than the BlackBerry. Seven Networks also has several affordable push solutions for internet-based e-mail.

And Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphones will benefit from Microsoft's new Direct Push Technology. A great example is Hewlett-Packard's Windows Mobile 5.0 iPAQ hw6900 that sports cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth links and built-in GPS navigation. Microsoft's Mobile 5.0 Messaging and Security Feature Pack not only handles e-mail, but also updates tasks, contacts and calendar items.

More push is good news for mobile entrepreneurs. Just be sure to check with your cellular service provider to see which devices and services it supports.

Safety First
Get extra security at lower prices with new Wi-Fi gear.

Lots of growing businesses buy their Wi-Fi gear at the same stores consumers do. Small-office networking equipment is low-cost, easy to set up and easy to get your hands on. But a little more security, flexibility and bandwidth couldn't hurt. In fact, several manufacturers have come out with Wi-Fi gear with the features businesses need at only slightly higher prices than consumer hardware.

High-end security features are especially important if you're transmitting sensitive financial data or accommodating telecommuters and other mobile employees. The inexpensive Linksys WRV200 Wireless-G VPN Router with Rangebooster supports VPN encryption for communications with remote workers. This $80 (all prices street) router can also deliver quality voice and video to multiple SSIDs and VLANs. For $230, Linksys' newest small-business router will add intrusion prevention to VPN.

The WRVS440N Wireless-N Gigabit Security Router also supports faster and farther draft-n transmissions and comes with four gigabit Ethernet ports. Business buyers can even pick up wireless access points equipped with Power Over Ethernet to power their devices through the cable rather than an outside power cord. Entrepreneurs don't necessarily have to spend a lot to upgrade to Wi-Fi gear with extra business features and more advanced security.

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the December 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Push the Envelope.

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