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AirMagnet Attracts Agilent

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Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) has tapped startup AirMagnet Inc. to add wireless LAN network monitoring to its current wired network troubleshooting products.

So what is the raison d'être behind the deal? "They didn't have wireless," explains Rich Mironov, VP of marketing at AirMagnet. (Agilent does have wireless LAN equipment testing products, but that division is not related to enterprise network monitoring.) Under the terms of the deal, Agilent is initially rebranding AirMagnet's entire line of WLAN security and performance monitoring tools. The firms then plan to further integrate AirMagnet capabilities into Agilent products.

AirMagnet currently has handheld, laptop-based, and network-based distributed WLAN diagnostic tools that can be used by IT managers to handle tasks like tracking down dreaded rogue access points and finding bottlenecks in the 802.11 network (see AirMagnet Airs 802.11 Upgrade ).

However, the next stage could be integrating the AirMagnet distributed passive monitoring system (passive access points installed in the enterprise that "listen" to the network) with Agilent's network troubleshooting center (NTC), a management tool which currently enables administrators to centrally [ed. note: well, duh!] monitor wired networks.

The AirMagnet system can currently communicate alerts and such like to the NTC via standard SNMP codes. However, Mironov notes that if the AirMagnet kit could link with some of the internal interfaces in the NTC, which would mean that more detailed information about the state of the WLAN network could be sent down the tubes... er, the pipe.

Daryle DeBalski, Agilent's wireless LAN management program manager notes that his company's aim is to use the AirMagnet technology to have a complete Layer 1 to 7 wired and wireless monitoring system.

The companies are not putting a number on the value of the deal, but AirMagnet's Mironov notes its importance for his company: "We expect it to be a very significant and important part of our revenue for next year." — Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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