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Optical/IP

AirFlow Switches Gear

AirFlow Networks is getting out of the expensive business of being a wireless LAN systems provider and instead hopes to license "switch-on-a-chip" technology to its former rivals.

Brian Jenkins, VP of marketing at AirFlow, says that the firm has decided that it could not play the "feature war" with startup rivals like Airespace Inc. and Aruba Wireless Networks, and simultaneously go up against incumbents like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR).

"We'd have had to invest a bunch more to really build the software out... to get to parity with these other vendors," explains Jenkins.

Instead, Jenkins says the firm is already talking to enterprise WiFi vendors about licensing the multichannel technology that underpins its switch. Chipmaker Engim Inc. is the first to sign up.

AirFlow burst [ed. note: burst, we tell you!] onto the inchoate 802.11 switch scene early in 2003 with a system that allowed users to split WLAN channels and dedicate them to specific traffic types (see AirFlow's WLAN Switch Packs a Big MAC). A new CEO and a few bags of VC cash later, the firm resurfaced with an increased focus on applications like voice-over-WLAN (see AirFlow Gets Dough, CEO).

Jenkins says the firm will continue to push VOWLAN as one of the strengths of its chipset.

Because of the shift in focus, AirFlow intends to cut staff that work on the systems operations side of the business. There are no details on the numbers yet. Jenkins says that, in turn, it will add on employees with chip expertise.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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