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Cisco Tunes In With Cognio

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has teamed up with startup Cognio Inc. to provide users with tools to enable them to get more information on what could be causing radio problems on their wireless LAN networks.

Cisco will use the Germantown, MD.-based company's Spectrum Expert, a WiFi spectrum analysis and monitoring tool, alongside its Wireless Control System (WCS) to give network users data on what might be causing RF problems in their neighborhood -- even if the 2.4GHz interference is coming from a nearby microwave oven or Bluetooth device rather than other WiFi gadgets. (See Review: Cognio's Spectrum Expert for WiFi 3.0.)

Ben Gibson, director of wireless and mobility marketing at Cisco, says his firm inked the partnership deal because it sees RF management as a key issue as enterprise WLAN networks get ever larger. (See Cisco Goes Green in Hearst Tower.)

"We heartily disagree with the notion that wireless LAN and RF management are unimportant," says Gibson, who says that some of Cisco's rivals in this market have been suggesting that WLAN is a mere commodity these days.

The Cognio software, which runs on a laptop, displays RF problems by means of spectrograph charts and can get quite complex. The software can, for instance, be used to list and even locate "noise" sources on different 802.11 channels.

The Cisco WCS and the Cognio code are not integrated at present. "You can run them side-by-side and flip between screens," offers Jeff White, executive VP of strategy and business development at Cognio.

Cisco's Gibson, however, hints that further integration might be a possibility. "It would be really nice to show when an AP is down on a floor on the WCS," he says, while stressing that is only an example of future possibilities.

Cognio already works with plenty of other vendors in the WiFi sniffing tools market. Names such as AirMagnet Inc. and WildPackets Inc. have licensed Cognio's technology.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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