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Colubris: Fat Is Back

As expected, Wireless LAN startup Colubris Networks Inc. has today unveiled its centralized 802.11 strategy, but -- unlike some other vendors -- the firm is definitely not planning to put its access points on a diet (see Colubris Plots Bigger Box).

The firm's Unified Services Network (USN) architecture lays out a two-stage plan for delivering a distributed WLAN/LAN switching architecture with centralized management and control that supports multiple services -- such as voice, video, and data -- over a single wired and wireless network (see Colubris Unveils USN Strategy). Colubris is planning to introduce a MultiService Controller and a Unified Edge Switch over the next 18 months to support its strategy.

But, unlike many of the switch players in this market, the firm isn't planning to introduce thin APs with its new kit, claiming that as wireless LANs get faster with new specifications like the 108-Mbit/s 802.11n spec, more muscle will be needed at the edge.

"A local MAC is essential to do 802.11n -- a split MAC will fall flat on its face." claims Colubris's amusingly named CTO, Pierre Trudeau. The logic being that, as many vendors use systems that tunnel back to the switch, this will become a bottleneck as data gets faster on the edge.

Colubris is planning to launch its multiservice controller this June, with the unified edge switch following in 2006. The firm plans to use the "wireless LAN switch on a chip" from Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) in its unified switch product, which is being developed with an established player in the market, according to Colubris (see Broadcom's Got a Switch Killer).

The new architecture is part of a broader general expansion for the startup, which has been helped by its latest crop of VC funding. The firm's headcount was 35 in January 2004 but will soon top 100, according to Trudeau (see Colubris Grabs $15m and Colubris Buys Kiwi).

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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