Colubris Networks Expands into SME

The new wireless products intend to give small and midsize enterprise's affordable access to automatic discovery and configuration of access points.

Colubris Networks, a Waltham, Mass., maker of wireless equipment for the hospitality and service provider industries is moving into wireless markets for small and midsize enterprises.

Previously, Colubris has focused its efforts on large enterprises in its target industries. The new collection of products, a wireless controller, a new wireless bridge and a guest access application, are intended to give SMEs access to capabilities that they havent had.

The Colubris MSC-5100 multiservice WLAN controller provides smaller organizations a centralized management solution for their wireless networks.

It handles automatic discovery and configuration of access points, and according to the company, is less expensive than most, although specific pricing was not provided.

The other hardware item included in the companys announcement is designed for the difficult process of adding legacy machines, including numerical control manufacturing equipment, to the wireless network.

/zimages/2/28571.gifWireless providers to push smart-phone apps, content in 2007. Click here to read more.

The WCB-200 wireless client bridge is designed to work with machines that use RS-232 or Ethernet communications, without the need to run a cable to the machine. This is especially useful in factory floor applications or for applications in which the equipment may be moving.

The company has also introduced a new application that allows untrained personnel to set up guest access to the company network, allowing Internet access, but preventing access to internal information. In addition, the company is bringing out a new version of the controller operating system.

According to Colubris co-CEO Chris Koeneman, providing guest access can be a thorny problem for smaller companies with limited IT resources.

"What weve developed is a visitor management tool that sits on a managers PC. The administrator logs you into the visitor management tool, and it generates a log in ID and password," he said. "That way you have a record of who has access to the network."

Koeneman said that the companys experience in the hospitality industry led them to create the guess access product.

Koeneman said that Colubris moved into the SME market because the company felt that the market was underserved. He said that the shortage of IT people in the market meant that it was important to create products that would give large-enterprise management capabilities to smaller organizations.

"It moves Colubris down the tree and gives them access to medium enterprises," said Steve Schuchart, a senior analyst for Current Analysis. "They looked at that midmarket place and decided they could do well," he added.

Schuchart said that the architecture of the Colubris solution may lend itself to the needs of smaller enterprises. "I think that Colubris architecture is unique. They do most of the work at the access point," he said.

Schuchart said the wireless client bridge will be important to companies, even if theyre not using the rest of the Colubris solution.

"There are any number of industries where it will always be cheaper to put this in than run a wire," Schuchart said, adding that likely uses might include legacy terminals or manufacturing machinery.

Schuchart said that for the company to be successful, Colubris would have to specifically target the SME sector.

"Their VAR and Channel partners need to make a push to their customers. A small and medium enterprise will only have a couple of IT people, so they depend on their VARs," Schuchart added.

But he also said that he thinks that Colubris is bringing a set of capabilities to the SME market thats needed and not available elsewhere. "I think they have a chance," he said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...