Top Line: August 20, 2001

Vendors are shifting wireless LAN speeds into overdrive, but many customers don't need the record performance.

Wireless LANs: No Need for Speed?

Vendors are shifting wireless LAN speeds into overdrive, but many customers dont need the record performance.

By the end of this year, 54-Mbps wireless LAN adapter cards will hit the streets. At least one company, Proxim, is developing 108-Mbps gear.

Still, the current 11-Mbps wireless standard is more than sufficient for most customers. At Symbol Technologies, for instance, employees say they are content with 2-Mbps wireless LANs in the companys Bohemia, N.Y., offices.

Even so, vendors are lining up partners to sell, install and support the new, high-speed gear.

3Com, for one, has launched a wireless LAN certification effort, which kicks off in September. Partners will receive discounts on 3Coms wireless products, priority access to sales leads, and early access to new products.

Meanwhile, Symbol plans to monitor wireless LAN access points for customers from a network operations center in New York. If Symbol spots a network glitch, the company will dispatch a partner to fix the problem, says Ted Koontz, director of services product marketing at Symbol.

Distributors also want in on the action. Ingram Micro recently hosted wireless LAN seminars in Irvine, Calif., and Buffalo, N.Y. About 50 resellers attended each event, which included a market overview from Smart Partner. (For the record, we werent paid for our insightful and witty remarks at the seminars.)

Neither a Buyer Nor a Lender Be

Even as some companies acquire small networking firms with depressed valuations, 3Com says it isnt in the buying mood.

3Com is sitting on $1.6 billion in cash, but dont expect CEO Bruce Claflin to open the companys wallet any time soon.

During a recent dinner with select members of the press, Claflin said its highly unlikely that 3Com will pursue acquisitions in the near term. Instead, the company wants to make sure "we have our own house in order" during the economic slowdown, said Claflin.

Still, other companies see the soft economy as a buying opportunity.

Quantum, for one, recently acquired network-attached-storage technology and certain assets from Connex for $11 million. Quantum will integrate the Linux-based technology with its popular Snap storage servers, says Sara Spivey, VP of marketing for Snap.

Separately, Cisco recently purchased Allegro Systems, a developer of Internet security solutions, for $181 million in stock. The buyout is Ciscos second in recent months. Cisco acquired more than 20 companies last year, but CEO John Chambers froze the buyout strategy as Ciscos stock declined sharply.

With that lesson in mind, Claflin is holding tight to 3Coms cash.

HiFive: Six Feet Under

HiFive, a management services provider, was launched last September with high hopes.

The company targeted resellers as sales allies, and flooded Smart Partner with PR calls to hype its operation.

But when we decided to pick up the phone and dial their number, we discovered that HiFive had gone six feet under.

A spokeswoman confirms that the company has gone out of business—just like 600 other Internet shops that have closed their doors since January 2000, according to

Format C:/ Whoops!

After Viant forgot how to run its business, it also forgot how to protect customer data.

When the consulting firm sold off excess computers earlier this year (due to layoffs), buyers discovered that Viant had forgotten to wipe the hard drives clean. So much for customer confidentiality.

Viant, like rivals iXL and Scient, went from a Wall Street darling to a penny stock as demand for e-consulting services dried up.

Oracle to Win, Exodus to No Show?

Focusing entirely on the Oracle world has done relative wonders for Appshop, a Fremont, Calif.-based ASP that evolved out of a consulting firm called Simplify.

The 20-month-old company has more than 70 customers, ample VC funds and a record of profitability that dates to its birth.

Still, strict dependence on Oracles e-business suite does carry risk, so the ASP, which also provides consulting and implementation services, plans to expand its repertoire into some new areas.

Those offerings include wireless access to Oracle apps (currently in beta), an e-learning product (an outgrowth of some old Simplify R&D), and private portal capability. All three initiatives complement Appshops managed applications solutions.

Even so, these moves wont help the firm if its key hosting ally, Exodus, doesnt snap out of its financial funk.

"Thats a situation were monitoring carefully," says Appshop CEO Ravi Kulasekaran.

Early Word on Biztalk

Want the buzz on BizTalk, Microsofts XML server? Call Syncata, an integrator that used BizTalk Server to build e-commerce links between Linear Technology and Arrow Electronics. The system took only 90 days to design, according to sources at Syncata.

HP-UX Inside

Soon, you may be able to sell an HP-UX server without Hewlett-Packards name on it. Mark Hudson, worldwide marketing manager for HP-UX and PA RISC, confirms that HP wants to line up OEM partners for HPs Unix variant.

Hudson declines to provide further details, but sources say HP is close to signing an OEM deal with at least one niche server maker in North America.

NetWare 6 Nears Release

Novells NetWare 6 is now publicly available for beta test (see Novell has not disclosed pricing and general availability for the official NetWare 6 release.

More Than a Goldmine

Keep a close eye on FrontRange Solutions, maker of the popular Goldmine software package and various CRM apps. New partner programs will launch in a few weeks. II