Trapeze Networks is looking to distinguish itself among WLAN switch vendors with new software for configuring and managing wireless networks and the clients attached to them.
"Ease of use is going to be the No. 1 differentiator [among wireless LAN switch vendors] down the road," said Craig Mathias, an analyst at Farpoint Group, a consultancy in Ashland, Mass.
"The ability of the company to solve problems is key. A lot of people assumed Trapeze was a second-tier player, but theyve done a good job updating the product line. This industry is still young," Mathias said.
Chief among the enhancements in the companys RingMaster management system is the Mobility Exchange wizard, a configuration checklist that makes it easier to set up WLAN switches on a network. It allows for offline configuration and single-click device verification, as well as error checking and automatic alerts about incomplete configurations.
The upgrade also includes real-time change management so that all members of an IT staff can be notified if someone alters anything on the network, said Trapeze officials in Pleasanton, Calif.
The new version of RingMaster has a dashboard that lets IT managers track client activity and RF (radio frequency) patterns from the same window. The dashboard also has an XML database that stores network activity information for as many as 30 days.
A new time-series reporting feature sends a compilation of information collected from a period of 1 hour to 30 days.
Furthermore, the software includes mobile device management, meaning IT managers can track users as they move from access point to access point and adjust the network based on roaming trends.
RingMaster now supports a distributed client/server model, wherein the information centralized on the switch can be accessed from any number of secured host machines.
The new features are available immediately as a free upgrade to the existing RingMaster software.
Pricing for RingMaster depends on configuration but starts at around $1,995 for a network of five switches.