Bluesocket, Extricom Take On Enterprise Wi-Fi

With the Wi-Fi startup acquisition dust settling, new players are having a go at becoming one-stop shops for corporate WLAN equipment.

With the Wi-Fi startup acquisition dust settling, new players are having a go at becoming one-stop shops for corporate WLAN equipment.

At the NetWorld+Interop show in Las Vegas next week, wireless security veteran Bluesocket Inc. and startup Extricom Ltd. will unveil plans for comprehensive enterprise Wi-Fi systems.

Bluesocket, known for its wireless gateways and IPSes (intrusion prevention systems), is expanding its product line to include both controllers and access points with integrated RF (radio frequency) sensors.

"Customers want to buy a solution from one provider, and we want to be a total provider to them," said Ralph Calistri, CEO of Bluesocket, in Burlington, Mass.

In July, the company will introduce a controller with a centralized sensor, its first access points and new management software that can support those access points. In October, the company will unveil an access point with an integrated sensor, Calistri said.

"Whats beautiful about using a sensor deployed as an access point is that you kill two birds with one stone," said Ken LeCompte, systems administrator and lead developer of the wireless network at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, N.J. The configuration gives users access to the network, and it gives the network administrator access to user activity, sensor by sensor, LeCompte said.

Bluesocket introduced its first wireless gateway in 2001, well before the WLAN (wireless LAN) switching boom of 2002 and 2003. The vendor became known primarily as a Wi-Fi security company and a Cisco Systems Inc. partner, supporting Ciscos top-selling, feature-rich but pricey Aironet access points. Bluesockets Calistri said that the partnership still stands but that Ciscos acquisition of Airespace Inc., which was a competitor of Bluesockets, has changed things.

Bluesocket officials said they still plan to support third-party access points, differentiating the company from WLAN switch vendors that support only their own.

Extricom is one of those companies. At N+I, it will unveil the Extricom Wireless Switch, which supports its own UltraThin AP devices, which contain no software or storage. The company, based in Herzlia, Israel, differentiates itself with centralized, packet-by-packet processing, meaning that the switch chooses the optimal access points, based on real-time conditions, every time a packet is sent.

Extricom is beta testing its wireless switch and UltraThin AP devices. They are due to reach the market next month. An eight-port system that includes a switch and eight access points will cost $8,000 to $14,000, depending on quantity and configuration.


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