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Issue #2003 - 14 (April 2003)
(Updated Apr. 23, 2003)


Continuing Evolution of Wireless LAN Switch Product - Trapeze Jumps the Bars and Bluesocket Twists the Term

Source: Source: Phil Hochmuth and John Cox Network World & Carmen Noble Ziffdavis

With a focus on easing wireless and wire-line management woes, two companies have joined the movement to build wireless capabilities into the wiring closet. 

Startup Trapeze Networks Inc. will announce a wireless switching platform the company developed from the ground up, while Extreme Networks will announce plans to add wireless capabilities to its line of switches. 

The Trapeze Mobility System features a central switch called MX (Mobility Exchange) and thin access points called Mobility Points, which perform packet encryption but have no local data store. The system also includes a variety of applications, such as one called Ringmaster that automates the site survey process, saving users a great deal of time, according to beta testers.

"Being a hospital, we are constantly remodeling," said Irv Hoff, manager of converged networks at San Antonio Community Hospital, in Upland, Calif. "Putting up walls changes the attenuation factor, which blows the last site survey."

"Our initial site survey took four or five days," said Jan Snyder, senior telecommunications consultant at the hospital. "With Ringmaster, it took a few hours."

Trapeze also addresses the "bug light" syndrome, wherein a client connects to the access point with the strongest radio signal even if that access point is disconnected from the network. Mobility Points won't accept user associations until MX verifies both power and data connections.

Products will be available in June, according to Trapeze officials, in Pleasanton, Calif. A starter kit, including one MX, two Mobility Points and the software suite, costs $9,500.

Trapeze and Extreme are certainly not alone. Companies including Symbol Technologies Inc., Aruba Wireless Networks Inc., Proxim Inc. and Airespace Inc. offer comparable products. Cisco Systems Inc. is rumored to be exploring the space as well.

Also, Enterasys, Nortel, 3Com are expect to deliver wireless LAN switches as Extreme Networks unveil its Unified Access Architecture, which lets IT managers control wired Ethernet, wireless LAN and wired power-over-Ethernet devices centrally. 

Enterasys Networks
It will unveil in a few weeks a switching architecture that uses specialized chips to control packets from or to a wireless LAN. 

which according to one source familiar with the company's plans, will introduce an "appliance" that sits behind a group of access points to secure and manage them, along with a wireless access point. Nortel declined to comment, other than confirming it will make a wireless LAN announcement the week following the CTIA Wireless 2003 show. 

plans this week to unveil at the CeBIT show in Germany details of its first 54M bit/sec 802.11a wireless access point. 3Com won't say whether it has any sort of switched architecture in the works. 

a leader in the wireless LAN access point market, declines to say whether it has a wireless switch in the works. We think it has its own ideas. 

Extreme Networks
The vendor is offering two new products. The Summit 300-48 is a 48-port switch for controlling a variety of networks. The Altitude 300 is a wireless port (or thin access point) that supports 802.11a, 802.11b and the draft-standard 802.11g.The switch will cost $6,495; the access point will be $595, officials said. Both are due next quarter.

"It is not just about wireless LAN," said Vipin Jain, vice president and general manager of LAN access business at Extreme, in Santa Clara, Calif. "It is about a network enterprise. You have to really look at an end-to-end network."

Extreme will use its existing ExtremeWare and EPICenter management software to control its new wireless hardware, Jain said.

This week, Bluesocket announced its WGX-4000 wireless security gateway that has some switching features (VLAN trunking and traffic prioritization). Its product strategy approaches the customer requirements from security management first and switching later - a market driven approach. Bluesocket's product meets the needs of today's market.  See more on this in WGX-4000 announcement of this newsflash.

Source: Source: Phil Hochmuth and John Cox Network World & Carmen Noble Ziffdavis
For more information: http://www.trapeze.com  http://www.extremenetworks.com

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: We expect WLAN switch market to evolve rapidly in a number of ways. First of all, the market is hot and a few more vendors, including the wireline switch vendors  will enter the market during 2003 but rationalization will happen in 2004. Most of the startups will either fail to gather enough moss or get acquired by the established players. At the end of the day, we expect, wireless security, switching and management functions to be incorporated into integrated switches There will perhaps be a few niche wireless functionality survivors for another few years. Our advice to startups - work on your exit strategy.

 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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