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News
Issue #2003 - 12 (April 2003)
(Updated Apr. 9, 2003)

INFRASTRUCTURE, PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Nortel Network Announces New Wireless LAN Products

As part of its re-emphasis on serving the enterprise market, Nortel Networks is announcing a family of wireless LAN products.  

The crown jewel of the family is a switch that Anthony Bartolo, director of product wireless LAN marketing at Nortel, said facilitates passing a wireless connection on a private 802.11-based network to a public network. Bartolo said this is part of Nortel's vision. 

"Our vision for mobility is uninterrupted service -- connectivity no matter where you are or where you are going," Bartolo explained. "We're aiming for the moon and hope to land amongst the stars." 

Leaning on its experience developing equipment for the telecom market, Nortel's new switch -- dubbed Security Switch 2250 -- provides load-balancing capabilities between access points, definable access on a per-user basis, and roaming across subnets found in an enterprise campus. The switch also can detect rogue access points employees bring into work and install themselves without the enterprise's knowledge or permission. 

The release of the family is in line with Nortel's revamped focus on the enterprise. According to Malcolm Collins, president of Nortel's enterprise networks division, wireless is a key area of growth for the company. He explained Nortel will bring carrier-grade reliability to its wireless products, mentioning hot-swappable power supplies and built-in failover. 

Collins is adamant that security is a primary focus across all of Nortel's enterprise line of products, especially in the WLAN space. 

"Security is the biggest issue in the enterprise," Collins said. "You'll see a whole range of wireless announcements from us this year." 

Analysts applaud Nortel's move, but see a consolidation on the horizon, something that may or may not affect the larger Nortel.

"There are 190-plus players in this market," said Sarah Kim, an analyst at The Yankee Group. "Soon we'll see Enterasys and 3Com enter this market, too."

Kim says in order for Nortel to catch market leader Cisco, the company must be committed to the market. Nortel's relative lateness to the wireless game, albeit late, it is well-positioned given its large size. Kim noted Nortel's emphasis on security is a good move.

"I'm happy they called their switch a 'security switch,' " Kim explained. "Others call theirs a 'wireless switch.' You can't switch air." 

Monday's announcement also includes an access point (Access Point 2200), a card bus adapter that supports 802.11a and 802.11b (Mobile Adapter 2201), and an application that supports wireless IP telephony calls from a pocket PC (Mobile Voice Client i2050). 

The Security Switch 2250 supports as many as 500 concurrent users and provides 200 mbps of encrypted throughput. The switch will be available June 30 and will sell for between $6,000 and $7,000. 

The Access Point 2200 is dual mode (802.11a and 802.11b), will retail for $899, and will be generally available around May 30, 2003. Both the switch and access point will support 802.11g.  

For more information:  http://www.nortelnetworks.com/products/01/wlan/security_2250/fandb.html

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory:  Kim at Yankee group is right in saying that Nortel is kind of late. There are a number of players (startups and established ones) already out there - WLAN security servers (Bluesocket, Reefedge, etc) , WLAN switch vendors (Cisco, Proxim, etc.) and others addressing part of the problem. However, this market is going to rationalize itself - both product-wise and vendor-wise. We do not think that final product form has emerged. Therefore, stronger vendors present in the enterprise networking arena have a good chance if they can be integrated with their wireless network WWAN offerings. If Nortel can regain a portion of its old glory, it can become an important player in WLAN switch market. We do not count Nortel out - in fact, we think that they have a credible offering. Sooner or later, Motorola, Nokia and Ericsson will have an offering as well. 

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.


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