The Green Sheet Online Edition
July 12, 2010 • Issue 10:07:01
Cordless retrofit for dial-up
A product called Nebo Wireless effectively turns a wired terminal into a wireless one for merchants wary of the tangles, trip hazards or unsightliness of plug-in cords.
The product works only with dial-up terminals and replaces a dial-up line with two small modules: one that connects to a payment terminal and another that plugs into a phone jack.
The two boxes communicate with each other via wireless signal, using a narrowband transmission to send payment data through and away from the merchant environment for processing.
"This enables your wired terminal to become wireless," said Ernie Lin, Chief Executive Officer of Nebo Wireless LLC. "There's one [module] at the front desk [POS] and another one in the back and between the two, if you don't want to connect the wire, you put our product there."
Why not use only wireless?
But why not just use a wireless terminal to begin with?
Many merchants do, of course, but Lin pointed out that the broadband networks on which most Wi-Fi-based terminals run are more susceptible to interference.
Such networks are wide enough for hackers seeking payment data to creep in, requiring data encryption schemes and other protective measures to deflect them; the narrowband transmissions used by dial-up terminals and compatible with Nebo are less likely to be penetrated, Lin said.
"We use narrowband because it's more reliable," Lin said. "Broadband does not transmit information reliably. The broader the bandwidth, the less reliable it is.
"We don't have a need for broadband data because credit card data is only a little bit of data. It's a misguided approach for credit cards, which don't need large information [channels]."
Lin said Nebo Wireless is protected by a "three handshake" authenticator that permits communication only between the two devices and blocks outside signals.
"We have a mechanism patented to protect anybody from stealing" card data in transmission, he said. "It's technically impossible to penetrate. It's a special circuitry. Our device is designed to do one-to-one communication. It is not like Wi-Fi, which is one to many, allowing anybody to get in.
"This technology is different from any other on the market. We call it 'lock-in' technology. When the two boxes communicate, they lock it in, and nobody can break in."
Lin added that, for merchants with dial-up terminals, replacing existing arrangements with Nebo Wireless is fast and easy.
"The beauty of the whole thing is we make everything automatic," he said. "You don't do any setup. Normally, with Wi-Fi you need to set up the [Internet] protocol and things like that. This doesn't have any of that stuff. You just connect it, and that's it."
Nebo Wireless LLC
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