Trapeze Upgrades WLAN System

By Vikki Lipset

March 16, 2004

The switch vendor focuses on deployment flexibility with new hardware and software offerings.

Trapeze Networks, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based WLAN switch vendor, has unveiled a new version of its system that aims to provide network administrators with more flexibility when they deploy a WLAN.

The Trapeze Mobility System Software version 2.0 can support any network topology between the WLAN switches, called Mobility Exchanges, and access points (this works with both Trapeze's Mobility Points and third-party APs). The first generation of the software required that APs be directly connected to the switches, while the 1.1 version could support only a Layer 2 network in between, but the latest version can support any WLAN configuration model, including direct or indirect connections between the switches and the APs, according to Michelle McLean, director of product marketing at the company.

"Our goal here is to take topology off the table, and allow customers to really focus on the architectural capabilities of the system and then deploy it however they want," she said.

Trapeze also introduced two new switches. The MX-8 ($2,995) is an eight-port switch with Power over Ethernet (PoE) that is aimed at smaller, distributed deployments such as wiring closets or remote offices. It can support up to eight Mobility Points and any number of third-party APs.

The MX-400 ($21,995) is geared more toward centralized applications such as a data center deployment, McLean said. It features four gigabit Ethernet ports, but can't support direct connections or PoE. The MX-400 can support 100 Mobility Points and any number of APs.

In addition, Trapeze has added 3-D support to the new version of its RingMaster software. In RingMaster 2.0, McLean said, "you can now see the impact that MPs or third-party APs on different floors have on the floors above them or below them. So you have this whole new concept of really planning a building now vs. planning a floor."

The new system software and MX-8 switch are available now in the United States, Europe and Asia. The MX-400 is expected to ship in the second quarter. A starter kit that consists of one MX-8, four dual-radio Mobility Points (802.11 a/b/g) and a RingMaster license will be available for $6,995.

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