By Lisa Phifer
August 29, 2007
The specter of patent-infringement lawsuits raises its head in the Wi-Fi world.
This week, Aruba Networks was accused of infringing upon four WLAN patents held by Symbol Technologies and Wireless Valley Communications, both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Motorola.
The suit alleges that Aruba products infringe upon two WLAN switching patents issued to Symbol in February of this year.
U.S. patent #7,173,922, Multiple Wireless Local Area Networks Occupying Overlapping Physical Spaces, describes an architecture where 802.11 functionality associated with traditional APs is moved from the radio access location to a “cell controller” which may be located in conjunction with a wired network switching hub. The AP is then replaced with a simplified “RF port” that performs only those 802.11 MAC functions that require lower level processing and which are time critical.
U.S. patent #7,172,923, Security In Multiple WLANs, describes how RF ports can operate based on pre-assigned security levels. That is, each RF port can support multiple SSIDs, creating virtual WLANs with separate security policies. The suit also states that Aruba infringed upon patents issued back in 2003 and 2005 that were used in Wireless Valley’s Site Planner product suite.
U.S. patent #6,625,454, Method and System for Designing or Deploying a Communication Network Which Considers Frequency Dependent Effects, uses 3D CAD modeling to provide a rapid, automated method for generating bill of materials, cost, and performance predictions for the purpose of comparing competing WLAN products or designs.
U.S. patent #6,973,622, System and Method for Design, Tracking, Measurement, Prediction and Optimization of Data Communication Networks, describes a system for predicting, measuring, and optimizing network performance. In that system, measurements made by agents in known or assigned 3D positions are transmitted to a server processor. The server uses a 3D model of the environment to process measured data and provide predictive models using site-specific information.
Filed on August 27th, Motorola’s lawsuit asks the court to award royalty compensation and monetary damages, and to immediately and permanently prevent Aruba from using these four patented technologies. Share prices fell for both companies in trading late yesterday, as investors reacted to this latest round of high-tech patent challenges.