Wireless Briefs

Wireless LAN vendor Proxim Inc. has agreed to merge with Western Mulitplex Corp., a builder of longer-distance fixed wireless bridges that was founded in 1979. The merged company will retain the name Proxim and will have products for building wireless LANs and connecting these wirelessly between buildings or across a campus. However, the stock prices of both companies plunged after news of the deal became public, reflecting investors’ initial skepticism that the merger will create the LAN-WAN synergies touted by executives. Proxim sells its Harmony brand of IEEE 802.11b – and recently, 802.11a – wireless LAN access points and interface cards. Western Multiplex created the Tsunami family of wireless Ethernet bridges for 10Base-T, Fast Ethernet and Gigabit networks.

Funk Software Inc. this month will ship a new product named Odyssey that lets network executives introduce the latest wireless LAN security standards but do so with existing authentication servers, such as RADIUS. Odyssey is a client-server product that makes use of the wireless LAN security improvements in the 802.1x standard. Second, Odessey does this using an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) draft proposal to extend one of the authentication methods, the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, specified by 802.1x. The price to install a single server, with 25 client licenses, is US$2,500. Additional clients start at US$50 each, with quantity discounts.

Tellabs Inc. last month introduced software to help wireless carriers optimize call quality. Tellabs’ 3150 Performance Probe software measures voice signals that route through the Tellabs 3100 Voice-Quality Enhancement system, letting wireless carriers monitor and optimize voice quality in real time, Tellabs says. The software measures and displays speech levels, noise levels, echo and delay every five seconds. The software also features an automated measurement function that helps minimize the time to identify and troubleshoot voice-quality performance issues. The software will be available next month. Pricing was not disclosed.