Wireless LAN Market
Vendors vie for wireless LAN

IT-ManagementIT-ProjekteNetzwerk-ManagementNetzwerke

Providing IT managers with secure, voice-enabled wireless LAN systems
that are easy to deploy and manage is the key to boosting corporate
adoption of the technology, say vendors.

Wireless LAN Market

Providing IT managers with secure, voice-enabled wireless LAN systems
that are easy to deploy and manage is the key to boosting corporate
adoption of the technology, say vendors.

Extreme Networks will
this week upgrade its WLAN switch and access point system to support
voice, video and data transmissions, following Nortels addition of voice
support to a “plug and play” adaptive WLAN system last week.

Extremes Attitude dual-band access points feature multiple radio chips, able
to transmit signals via a single detachable antenna in either the 2.4GHz
802.11b/g wavebands or the 5GHz frequency used by 802.11a equipment. All
the intelligence resides in the Extreme Summit 300 switches behind the
access points, providing extra levels of user authentication using
Radius servers, MAC addresses and implementations of the 802.11x
security protocol.

Nortels Adaptive Solution supports IP
telephony over WLAN using radio frequency monitoring and control. It
works with the companys 2210 and 2211 Wi-Fi-only mobile handsets.
Nortels WLAN IP Telephony Manager 2245, which optimises the connection
between handsets and the call server, is due to ship in April.

Simon Wilson, Nortels product marketing manager for LAN and WLAN for
Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said that it was important to make
WLANs easier for firms to deploy and manage and to make it easier to
access wireless networks. “WLANs need to be much simpler,” he said.
“Users are familiar with installation and configuration of regular wired
LANs, but with WLANs the radio-frequency piece is still a black art.
They have to hire expensive consultants to help with installation.”

Nortel has added a range of automated functions to its system to, for example,
automatically configure power levels for optimum coverage; assign
transmission channels; detect and block rogue access points; and reroute
traffic in the event of switch or access point failure.

A variety
of similar WLAN solutions for corporate customers are available from
multiple vendors. Jon Wetherall, HP Procurve Networking Country Manager
for the UK and Ireland, says management tools need to improve as
well.“The level that we need in [WLAN] management is not there yet from
any vendor. There is still a lot of work to be done in managing wireless
access, data and user authentication,” he said.

Analysts
said vendors may find it hard to sell firms the idea of transmitting
voice calls over WLANs, however, pointing out that the technology is
still dogged by concerns about security and performance.