AirWave Upgrades Management Platform

By Eric Griffith

August 17, 2004

The 3.0 version of the product features the ability to use client systems for RF monitoring, as well as a new console for controlling distributed WLANs.

San Mateo, Calif.-based AirWave Wireless this week announced a new version of its AirWave Management Platform (AMP). The 3.0 version will have, in the words of founder and COO Greg Murphy, a stronger "focus on more high-density networks."

The goal is for the product to support enterprises with multiple servers on the network with a single console to monitor all the access points on the wireless side. This new Web-based master console in AMP can scale up to supporting over 20,000 APs across a distributed network -- in branch offices and beyond, for example.

Enhanced radio frequency (RF) management is also new to this version, including automatic detection of interference from neighboring APs. Existing RF monitoring solutions using third party sensors can also be integrated into the AMP. Enterprises without an existing sensor array can take advantage of optional client software that turns laptops into an additional RF sensor.

"The client can gather information -- that's the primary function," says Murphy, "but [AMP] can also push information to the client." He says this client solution is AirWave's play to keep customers from being locked into a proprietary solution.

The number of products that AMP works with has expanded to include new hardware from vendors like Cisco, Symbol, 3Com, Enterasys, HP, and more. The platform will also work with the new wave of WLAN switches on the market.

"We talk to a lot of customers, and there's debate about intelligent APs vs. thin APs -- they think it's an either/or proposition, but we think it's both," says Murphy. "Some might want switches, but there's areas where it makes sense to have intelligent APs and legacy devices. A retail headquarters might want the wireless switch architecture for high density of users or voice over IP, but they've got thousands of retail outlets that each have one AP -- that's not going to be a switch location."

Asked about who the competition is for AirWave, Murphy says all the companies out there have their own method of configuring and managing their own hardware devices in the early stages, "but as they move out of the pilot mode or go corporate-wide or on a global basis, they see the reality: these networks become multi-vendor, heterogeneous networks, and they need to accommodate that."



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