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Foundry Networks has dipped a toe in the crowded wireless networking market with a line of 802.11a/b/g kit that is designed to work with its existing layer 2 and layer 3 edge switches.

The firm's IronPoint wireless range, due to ship commercially next month, includes its IronPoint 200 IEEE 802.11a/b/g multi-mode access point, an SNMP-based Wi-Fi Management application suite and a Wireless LAN software upgrade option for the FastIron JetCore modular, FastIron Edge and FastIron Edge Power-over-Ethernet switches.

The company says that tight integration of the forthcoming wireless offerings with its FastIron switches will give it an edge - at least for existing customers - in a fiercely competitive market. The IronPoint 200 can be used as a standalone AP or, with a software upgrade, integrated with one of the firm's wireless- enabled switches. Similarly Foundry's edge Layer 2/3 switches can be software upgraded to enable wireless LAN capability.

The newly released wireless offerings can be rolled out either in a standalone access point configuration for small/medium size deployments, or as an intelligent access point integrated with wireless LAN switch for larger installations.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with the Yankee Group, said that wireless was beginning to take off with enterprise corporates after a long period where they have been reluctant to use the technology because of fears centring on management headaches and security concerns.

"With many of the enterprise deployment barriers such as security, roaming and management being addressed, network managers are now beginning to add wireless LAN support to their network infrastructure," he said.

Ken Cheng, general manager of Foundry's Enterprise Business Unit, said that adding wireless capability is a "necessary add-on" to enterprise network infrastructures. ®

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