Strix Skips the Site Survey

By Eric Griffith

September 26, 2003

The mesh networking company's Architect/One Web-based tool is now available to channel partners who want to design a Strix-based network for customers without even visiting the offices.

As promised when it announced its Access/One Network, which uses a mesh topology as its answer in the WLAN switch wars, Strix Systems of Westlake Village, Calif., this week released its Architect/One tool to its channel partners.

Architect/One is a Web-based software tool to facilitate creation of the network requirements of a specific location. It's a site survey without the walking around. It is only available to partners in the Strix Channel/One Partner Program, announced earlier this month. As of that point, Strix had signed 20 partners to become resellers, distributors or system integrators of Strix equipment.

Whether such partners and value-added resellers (VARs) choose to use Architect/One is up to them, according to Dean Edwards, the manager of product management at Strix. "They can use it in their facility, or they can present it to customers and use it for them. A lot of folks do traditional site surveys; they walk the environment, check the layout, et cetera. This program alleviates that."

The software is loaded with information on a customer's environment and parameters, everything from the number of users, the technologies used (802.11a, b, or g) and even a floor plan map. The software can be used to point out what are walls, what are cubicles, and do a prediction on the radio frequency patterns for a network. Then it will tell the VAR just how many pieces of Strix equipment are needed for a site deployment.

"The more details the VAR puts in, the more accurate the end results," says Edwards.

While he says the software is meant to be "purely predictive and planning for preinstallation," Edwards admits it can also be used post-installation. The software has a feature to manually place a node and then do a prediction based on others in proximity to it to figure out if it's needed for extra coverage. Information on each customer setup is stored by Strix on servers, so VARs can always return to it in the future.

Architect/One is available for use for free by its partners until the end of this year. After January 1, they have to pay a monthly fee of $500 per license to continue to access the tool online.

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