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AutoCell Is Back

Nearpoints
Nearpoints
Nearpoints
10/31/2006

3:30 PM -- AutoCell Laboratories Inc. was always, for me, anyway, one of those great smack-yourself-in-the-forehead innovations. If you’ve not looked at AutoCell before, it’s a technology that automatically sets channel assignments and transmit power levels for wireless LANs. But, much more importantly, AutoCell has client-side functionality. This means that roaming and load balancing can now be deterministic, which it most certainly is not in typical implementations. Letting a client manage roaming is not a very good idea; AutoCell makes WLANs behave more like cellular telephone systems, where the infrastructure is in control. By far, the best benchmark results we’ve every seen, in both residential and enterprise-class systems, are the direct result of AutoCell. I’m a fan.

Anyway, a while back they appeared to have gone out of business. Most of the staff scattered, and no one was returning my phone calls. As it turns out, they were reorganizing, and the key people are still there. They’ve moved to more of a licensing model than a products approach, and, very interestingly, they now have a deal in place with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). Having a technology with both client and infrastructure components creates something of a chicken-and-egg problem, in that vendors on either side are reluctant to commit to including functionality without sufficient installed base on the other. The Microsoft deal just might solve the client-side issue, making AutoCell universally available on Windows and Windows Mobile. But, I’m speculating here, as no products have been announced yet.

I wish the AutoCell folks great success regardless -- they deserve it. AutoCell really is an innovation that's worthy of your attention, and I’m very glad it still has a shot.

— Craig Mathias is Principal Analyst at the Farpoint Group , an advisory firm specializing in wireless communications and mobile computing. Special to Unstrung

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