Centralizing Enterprise WLANs

By Eric Griffith

October 08, 2002

Wavelink thinks its Mobile Manager Enterprise is just what big corporations are looking for to consolidate control of all aspects of remote WLANs.

Wavelink Corporation of Kirkland, WA, this week announced Wavelink Mobile Manager Enterprise, a system for full management and control of devices and access points throughout a corporate enterprise, all from a single console.

"The wireless LAN consists of access points and bridges, connected to the wired LAN," says Eric Hermelee, VP of Marketing at Wavelink. "Then there's the mobile devices -- PDAs, laptops and other appliances. Typically what you've had to date is solutions that manage one aspect of that or the other... What nobody does is put the two together for a complete view over the infrastructure from one console."

Mobile Manager Enterprise (MME), technically now in version 1.5, supports both 802.11a (5GHz, 54Mpbs) and 802.11b (2.4GHz, 11Mpbs) networks across multiple vendor products -- "Cisco to symbol to Intel to 3com to Nortel and Ericsson, and a few others" says Hermelee. "Having a software layer that's vendor independent is important."

With it, network administrators can manage the entire wireless network and deploy patches or updates as needed without having to physically visit every access point or client node.

MME consists of three components: Mobile Manager, installed at the central network operations center (NOC); agent software at remote locations that runs on a PC that communicates with up to 5000 access point; and client software called Avalanche Enabler that communicates with the agent software. The agent relays information from the end-user device back to the centralized Mobile Manager. This end-to-end management, says Hermelee, will make it easier to do things such as coordinated settings like product SSIDs or the above mentioned software/firmware upgrade distribution.

"We can load up the firmware and ship it down to every AP/client in the managed universe," says Hermelee.

The Avalanche Enabler client supports the usual Windows, Pocket PC, and Palm clients, and more, he says: "The Avalanche history is in vertical legacy products, so many of them have already been written for things like barcode scanners, etcetera. [For example] it supports the DOS platform from Symbol, Intermec, Telxon (acquired by Symbol).

The product also promises increased security. Wavelink has already shipped products that have automatic WEP key rotation and rogue WLAN identification, and MME will have the same (rogue access point detection will come later this year).

MME will be priced at $15,000 for the server, $110 managed fee per access point, and $80 managed fee per client device, with discounts for volume. It will ship by the end of October.

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.

802.11 Planet Conference Wondering how best to manage your own wireless LAN? Join us at the 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo, Dec. 3-5 in Santa Clara, CA. One of our sessions will cover WLAN Management: Taming the Unwired Beast.

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