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Autocell Grabs Another Round

Wireless LAN software startup AutoCell Laboratories Inc. has grabbed another round of VC funding, Unstrung has learned.

The firm is expected to announce an "inside round" of "less than $10 million", according to our sources. AutoCell's investors include Motorola Ventures and Thomas Weisel Partners.

To date, the startup -- formerly known as Propogate -- has raised $14 million in funding. (See Propagate Raises $8M.)

AutoCell makes software to automatically optimize wireless LAN networks. Once the firm's code is installed on an 802.11 access point, it can monitor the RF environment and swap channels and turn the radio down to avoid network interference. (See Propagate Changes Channels.) The firm's customers include Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR), Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR), and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE).

AutoCell is not the only company to take advantage of VC firms' recent willingness to fund wireless startups. Airgo Networks Inc., Ruckus Wireless Inc., Stoke Inc., and Tropos Networks have all been quietly gathering extra funds. (See AirGo's SOHO Go-Go, The Ruckus Room, Stoke Gets Stoked With $20M, and Siemens Funds Tropos.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

IPobserver 12/5/2012 | 2:59:49 AM
re: Autocell Grabs Another Round AutoCell showed the results of some testing they did recently against a baseline system with no RF management features. The results looked pretty impressive in terms of load-balancing and throughput improvements.

I believe they're now planning to test against some of the enterprise WLAN systems that do (claim to) have RF management capbiltities.
Net Worthy 12/5/2012 | 2:59:49 AM
re: Autocell Grabs Another Round The article contains a rather snarky comment: "AutoCell is not the only company to take advantage of VC firms' recent willingness to get out their checkbooks for almost anything." I think this company deserves more respect than that. Although my company, which makes WLAN access points, is not currently an AutoCell customer, I have looked at their technology and it solves real problems (reducing manual provisioning of WLANs, and automatically adapting to changes in the radio environment) and works quite well.

AutoCell (the product) is more widely deployed than the list of AP vendors might suggest. At least one very large AP vendor uses AutoCell but has chosen to hide that fact under their own marketing terminology.
whatupwireless 12/5/2012 | 2:59:47 AM
re: Autocell Grabs Another Round There's no doubt that with intelligent control of the RF they have the right idea and it works. The problem is the need to have it on the client and the AP. There are LOTS of clients out there that have to listen to Autocell but don't have the SW. So the VCs are not "suckers", its a question of execution - how will they get to every wi-fi end user?
mojolick 12/5/2012 | 2:58:49 AM
re: Autocell Grabs Another Round Actually, AutoCell software has two parts: 1) dynamic RF management and 2) load balancing of clients. Only the latter (2) requires client software.

I agree that both work real well. I have it working at home, and depending how you configure it, makes for a very secure home network (by increase/decrease RF power as I move).

Glad they got more funding. Any enterprise vendor that supports Autocell?
joset01 12/5/2012 | 2:58:45 AM
re: Autocell Grabs Another Round Siemens and Extreme have it in the latest editions of their boxes AFAIK.
wirelessbitz 12/5/2012 | 2:58:42 AM
re: Autocell Grabs Another Round Dan wrote: "Siemens and Extreme have it in the latest editions of their boxes AFAIK."

Hi Dan, That would make sense since Siemens (aka Chantry) OEM to Extreme. Compare:

http://www.chantrynetworks.com...

http://www.extremenetworks.com...

In regards to true RF management, you need management of the client and AP. That is the point behind 802.11k/v and even 802.11h. The problem with today's networks is that you have clients transmitting at high power that leads to shared bandwidth issues and ACI/CCI.

I don't see where Autocell can differentiate. Management of the RF space is a part of all enterprise class WLAN's. But I'm not familiar with Autocell so I won't comment other than to ask where they propose differentiation with an Airespace (for example) RF management scheme. Someone?

mojolick 12/5/2012 | 2:56:50 AM
re: Autocell Grabs Another Round Previously wrote:
"I don't see where Autocell can differentiate. Management of the RF space is a part of all enterprise class WLAN's. But I'm not familiar with Autocell so I won't comment other than to ask where they propose differentiation with an Airespace (for example) RF management scheme. Someone?"

Comment:

NETGEAR also supports AutoCell (I have AutoCell on both my WLAN router and client card, both NETGEAR).

I believe that although AutoCell is a standalone solution for Siemens and Extreme, as specified by Dan, AutoCell also has a client component for advanced load balancing.

The enterprise guys don't seem to sell the client, but after inquiring, the AutoCell is also compatible with their implementation, allowing for smoother load balancing. Smoother because a VAR that I know had to turn off Airespace's load balancing because it had to disassociate clients to load balancing. Turns out that the customer was a Health Care customer (my relative) and the load balancing was clipping the voice calls too much.

Not sure if any voice handsets support AutoCell.

whatupwireless 12/5/2012 | 2:56:48 AM
re: Autocell Grabs Another Round >Turns out that the customer was a Health Care >customer (my relative) and the load balancing was >clipping the voice calls too much.
>
>Not sure if any voice handsets support AutoCell.

That is very doubtful since handsets have enough problems with power and power save modes. The intention for handsets is to keep them "out of the loop" as much as possible in order to make battery life reasonable.
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