Tools Let Wireless LANs Branch Out

Bluesocket's gateway and management software let administrators remotely control wireless LANs in branch offices.

With wireless LANs firmly established in the headquarters of many large enterprises, WLAN management specialists are now addressing the needs of their customers branch offices with new tools that allow for remote administration.

Bluesocket Inc. will announce this week a gateway and associated management software that let users control WLANs in multiple locations, according to officials at the Burlington, Mass., company.

"Systems integrators tell us that [support for] the branch office is what they need," said Ralph Calistri, Bluesockets CEO. "The small and medium enterprise space is growing faster than anything."

The Bluesocket WG-400 Wireless Gateway can handle as many as 50 users concurrently. It supports as many as eight access points, with four directly connected to the built-in switch on the gateway. The gateway supplements Bluesockets existing line of gateways, which are designed for WLANs ranging from 100 to 1,000 users.

Bluesocket also is introducing new management software for multisite WLAN deployments. BlueView Management System provides centralized configuration, provisioning, policy enforcement and monitoring capabilities, using the XML RPC (remote procedure call) specification.

Users agree branch support is increasingly necessary.

"We have a mandate to do wireless coverage across campus," said Brandon Saunders, senior network engineer at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, who is testing the WG-400. "We have small administrative buildings that this will fit perfectly into."

Bluesocket is facing increasing competition from the growing WLAN switch market, in which companies offer so-called thin access points managed from a central controller. In the third quarter of this year, these switch-dependent access points represented 11 percent of the enterprise access market, up from 1 percent a year ago, according to IDC, based in Framingham, Mass.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about the wireless LAN markets competitve landscape.

Bluesocket officials said their relationship with Cisco Systems Inc., which still supplies most enterprise access points and has yet to announce a thin- access-point strategy, keeps them in a strong position.

"Ive been around awhile, and Cisco can be a very good partner and a formidable adversary, and when youre trying to sell switches into their base, its very difficult," Calistri said.

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