Trapeze Upgrades to 5.0

By Eric Griffith

August 30, 2006

New Mobility System will offer complete integration with AirDefense for security and improved voice quality.

After getting a $30 million infusion of Series D cash this week from investors like Juniper Networks and Nortel Networks, WLAN provider Trapeze Networks took the wraps off an upgrade to the software running its WLAN infrastructure equipment called Mobility System.

"First and most interesting in this release is security," says Dan Simone, vice president and CTO of Trapeze. This 5.0 software release will feature full integration with software and equipment from AirDefense to handle intrusion detection and prevention. It's an important addition as the company makes a move toward the federal/government market.

They'll use a common hardware platform for both sensors and access points (Trapeze's Mobility Points). "No more of the model with some access points from one company and sensors for the overlay," says Simone. "It's all the same access point hardware." Alarms roll through the system all the way to the Ringmaster management software, so administrators don't need to load a separate AirDefense console. Everything is in one consolidated view that correlates what is detected. This is done through a new dashboard capability in Ringmaster. "It's not a pop-up window for AirDefense: it's truly integrated," Simone says. "It's not a partnership [with AirDefense]: it was a co-development to make sure they fit together.

Voice over WLAN traffic also gets attention in 5.0, delivering what the company says is the first true toll-quality voice over WLAN. Simone says his company is "aggressively ahead of the curve on the voice standards track," as they're implementing aspects of 802.11v (for management of clients) and 802.11k (for load balancing), standards not even finished yet in the IEEE 802.11 Working Group, plus "more comprehensive bits of 802.11e," the standard for voice and video quality of service (QoS) over WLANs. That includes 11e's Unscheduled Automatic Power Save Delivery (U-APSD) to extend battery life.

"Over time, you'll see other announcements from us -- a major one later this year. We're working in the lab with folks to bring forth some interesting new capabilities, working with people in the handset and call server and PBX space," says Simone. With a subtle dig at the competition like Cisco, he stresses that they're not using any proprietary technology. "There's a standards-based way to do this; we don't have to be held hostage by PBX CCX," he says, refering to the Cisco Compatible Extensions that company offers to make sure clients can connect to their equipment. [corrected 8/31/06].

Mobility System 5.0 will also integrate Wi-Fi based location systems, working with leading vendors in this space (though Trapeze doesn't announce who that is).

They expect to ship 5.0 within the next 30 days. It's free to customers with existing support contracts.

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