Partnering for the Customers

There's nothing worse than finding out all the various parts of your enterprise WLAN network don't play nice together. Some vendors are trying to do something about it using the buddy system.


Say you've got a management system for your wireless LAN from Wavelink, an authentication security system using 802.1X server and clients from Funk Software, and security and monitoring components from AirMagnet. How do you make them work together?

Supposedly, you don't have to do anything. The three companies mentioned above are entering into partnerships for interoperation with WaveLink's Mobile Manager software as the middle ground.

IT managers' requests are the driving force behind this says Eric Hermelee, vice president of marketing at Wavelink. "We've seen a lot of customers working with them independently, and they've asked if we could get them to work together... it gives customers a single portal into the network with Mobile Manager."

The AirMagnet Handheld and Airmagnet Distributed products will work seamlessly with Mobile Manager; likewise for Funk's Odyssey Client software used for logging into 802.1X authentication servers. The companies will also do joint sales and marketing with their channel partners and resellers.

AirMagnet's Handheld Analyzer product, which is used for site surveys and follow-up walk around checks of WLANs, "collects a lot of data on the network, such as channels, power used, names of APs, IP addresses -- all are consumed in the handheld process," says Hermelee. "We have a site survey link in Mobile Manager to propagate that data into the software and push settings across the network based on the data." AirMagnet Distributed, which uses probes for real-time network monitoring, will likewise tie into Mobile Manger to "take more intelligent control of the network."

Working with Mobile Manager doesn't mean supplanting the AirMagnet interface however. Some key data is consolidated, but Hermelee says at some point in time users will have to launch the AirMagnet interface.

Wavelink's Avalanche software will be used to control security policy in the Funk Odyssey 3.0 client software -- Mobile Manager is only in control of the WLAN infrastructure. Avalanche will be able to control settings on thousands of Odyssey clients. (Again, this doesn't suppliant the need for an 802.1X server for authentication.) End users will also need the Avalanche client installed as well.

"What we're trying to do is solve the settings problem on clients. The software becomes smarter and better managed with they dynamic control," says Hermelee.

The full functionality of these partnerships should be available in June.

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