Wi-Fi start-ups make Europe debut

Two wireless start-ups, Airespace and Aruba Wireless Networks have launched in Europe.

Two wireless start-ups, Airespace and Aruba Wireless Networks have launched in Europe.

They both focus on radio frequency (RF) self-calibration, security and real-time applications such as voice.

"We lock the air," said Pankaj Manglik, chief executive officer of Aruba. "We block rogue access points and hackers to protect your air space."

The service is an extension of the rogue detection done by most enterprise wireless systems.

"Customers with a 'no wireless' policy use us to prevent wireless networks being set up," said Alan Cohen, Airespace's marketing vice-president.

Both companies base their prevention model on the RF management features of their access points (AireWave Director, and Aruba's RF Director).

Both monitor the air for other Wi-Fi systems - a feature which also allows them to be self-optimising and self-healing, cutting back their signals to prevent overlaps. "With RF management, the more overlap the better," said Manglik.

"We have an average system latency of three milliseconds," said Airespace's Cohen, who claims his access points can each support up to 14 voice calls at a time.

The trick with voice is secure roaming with quick handovers. However, the two companies use different technologies.

Airespace uses Layer 2 tunnelling, while Aruba uses the mobile IP standard with the GRE cellular signalling protocol.

"We have addressed the integration issues by using a proxy," said Manglik. Operating at Layer 3 lets Aruba apply different quality of service standards to several streams from one machine, so you can browse and phone at the same time for instance.

The two companies distinguish themselves by the different parts of the system, with Airespace playing down the switch aspect.

Both companies will sell indirectly, and have set up distributors in Europe.

Airespace quotes $11,000 for a 24-port switch, while the Aruba's 24-port system starts at €6,500.

Peter Judge writes for Techworld


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