WLAN Voice Support Grows

Siemens Communications Inc. and Meru Networks Inc. are set to launch products that focus on voice support for wireless LANs.

Siemens Communications Inc. and Meru Networks Inc. are set to launch products that focus on voice support for wireless LANs at Interop in Las Vegas this week.

Siemens will share plans for the assets gained in Januarys acquisition of Chantry Networks Inc. Initially Siemens has simply rebranded Chantrys BeaconWorks line of WLAN controllers, access points and management software. The products will be known as HiPath Wireless Mobility Solutions.

At Interop, Siemens will launch a line of professional services around HiPath that include site surveys, network assessment, systems integration and design, and security planning, as well as a variety of life-cycle services, said officials at the Boca Raton, Fla., company.

Before its acquisition of Chantry, Siemens didnt have any Wi-Fi products and was reselling WLAN hardware from Cisco Systems Inc.

Siemens also plans to introduce its OptiPoint WL2 Professional line of Wi-Fi phones, officials said. The OptiPoint WL2 Professional will be SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)-based and have the look and feel of a basic cell phone with a large screen. The first phone in the line will support the 802.11b and 802.11g standards and will run on an embedded Linux operating system. Due in August, the phone is priced at $495.

For the future, Siemens is investigating wireless networking technologies beyond Wi-Fi, including WiMax.

At Interop, Meru will demonstrate a new product line called Radio Switches, which are WLAN switches with built-in access point radios. The radios support 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g, and the switches will be upgradable when other 802.11 technologies become available, said officials at the Sunnyvale, Calif., company. The switches offer overlapping "blankets" of throughput, officials said.

Meru isnt the first company to offer this type of device. Xirrus Inc., of Westlake Village, Calif., last month introduced its Wireless LAN Array, which includes up to 16 integrated access points.

"In the Xirrus product, you get more range, but some of the channels are aiming the other way," said Farpoint Group analyst Craig Mathias, in Ashland, Mass. "If the users clump in funny areas at different points during the day, and you dont necessarily know where they are going to be at any given time, then omnidirectional antennas make sense."


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