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Wireless Company Aruba Bids To Manage Wired LANs

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Newest version of wireless management product controls client devices and wired networks – and multi-vendor equipment

Aruba Networks has launched a new version of the Airwave wireless management product it acquired two years ago, giving it more ability to manage wired networks, and keep its multi-vendor strengths.

“You can’t manage wireless in isolation from the end users or the infrastructure,” said Roger Hockaday, director of marketing at Aruba. “If the access point stops working, is that because the AP is gone or is the switch port congested, for instance?”

As companies start to rely more heavily on the wireless LANs in their offices, they have to support them more effectively, says Hockaday, and that means having a system which can track a fault and determine whether it is in the wired or wireless part of the network.

If the user is on a Windows or Windows Mobile device, the new Airwave product – known as Aruba Wireless Management System 7 in the UK, for copyright reasons – can diagnose faults on the device using an agent installed on the client.

When Airwave was an independent company, its product was heavily used by enterprises needing to manage multi-vendor wireless LANs, or supplement features lacking in the management systems of wireless LAN vendors. 

Since buying it, Aruba, has kept Airwave’s multi-vendor abilities, says Hockaday: “Sixty percent of AWMS installations are on Cisco wireless LANs. We have kept to the plan of multi-vendor working, and and will continue to do so”.

When wireless LANs were an optional extra alongside Ethernet cabling to every desk, a specialist product like AWMS was not needed by many people, Hockaday admits, with companies relying on the management software bundled with their wireless LAN.

“People are moving rapidly from wireless as a convenience to wireless for the majority,” said Hockaday, and this means the cost of AWMS can be justified. AWMS costs £3000 for 50 devices, or £40,000 for up to 1000 devices.