Carrier WiFi

Alcatel Seeking Switch Partner?

French wireless infrastructure vendor Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) is planning to strike a partnership deal with an 802.11 switch provider soon, according to sources, which include one equipment maker.

The vendor has been talking with several startups, according to one source, and looks most likely to ink an OEM deal with Airespace Inc.

Naturally, the startup's lips are sealed about this. "That's a big, fat, no comment for you," Alan Cohen, vice president of big fat marketing and product management at Airespace, told Unstrung. "No comment," was also the order of the day from an Alcatel spokesman.

Craig Mathias, a principal with the Farpoint Group, an analysis and consulting firm, says that Alcatel probably wants to fill the 802.11-shaped holes in its enterprise product portfolio. "Wireless LAN is clearly going to be a big market," he says. "Nobody wants to get left behind."

Alcatel already has an access-point OEM deal with Colubris Networks Inc. (see Alcatel Launches WLAN Product). But Carl Blume, director of product marketing at Colubris, says that his company's partnership with the French firm mainly relates to its "hotspot-in-a-box" access-point products and is therefore more carrier-oriented.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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