Airespace launches wireless Lan switch

Airespace is taking on Trapeze Networks in the high-growth market sector of wireless Lans for the branch office.

Airespace is taking on Trapeze Networks in the high-growth market sector of wireless Lans for the branch office.

Airespace's 3500 four-port wireless Lan switch supports up to six access points, intended for branch offices and smaller companies where up to 90 people work.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of a wireless branch system launched by Trapeze earlier this month.

Airespace's switch also guarantees quality of service over the wireless Lan, an intrusion protection service with attack signatures and support for IP version 6.

"We are seeing strong wireless growth in new markets, such as retail, which require the same calibre of wireless Lan services as larger enterprises but at lower capacities," said Richard Webb, directing analyst of wireless Lans at Infonetics Research.

"Larger WLan systems are too expensive for these environments, traditional access points are too difficult to manage, and consumer and [small and medium business] products lack enterprise-grade features, such as security and WLan management," he said.

Airespace's 3500 WLAN controller fills in a gap between the company's existing "remote office" system (a Wan-connected access point launched in December) and its 4000 series which supports 12 and more access points. It supports features including RF monitoring and management, a location service and security, and costs from $2,000 (£1,089) including software.

Earlier this month, Trapeze launched a cheaper branch system, the $995 MXR-2, a small-scale switch which supports three access points, to extend to smaller offices than its existing 8-port MX8. The system downloads its settings from a central switch over the wide area network.

One of the Trapeze system's ports has power over Ethernet, a feature not included in the Airespace box.

Both products will come up against the first product in this sector, Symbol's branch switch, which was launched in February and has been in the market for a year now.

Peter Judge writes for Techworld

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