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Optical/IP

Cisco's Airespace Program

So, now that Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has bought Airespace Inc., what is it going to do with all of that lurverly new wireless LAN hardware and software?

Bill Rossi, vice president and general manager of Cisco's wireless networking business unit says that after the deal closes in March or April, the company will initially offer customers both the Airespace products and its own structured wireless aware network (SWAN) products.

"Over time we want to merge things into a single product line," says Rossi. "I think the integration is going to be pretty straightforward."

But the Cisco cheese isn't talking timescales, at least not yet.

Airespace's lightweight access point protocol (LWAPP) is one of the mechanisms that the companies will use to help their products work together, according to Alan Cohen, VP of marketing at Airespace.

Cisco was involved in the early stages of trying to standardize LWAPP but later pulled out (see Access Point Tiff Simmers and Zorn Is Shorn ).

Airespace's "momemtum and success in the enterprise office market" is one reason that Rossi says Cisco wanted to buy the startup.

But Airespace shifted a lot of product through its OEM partners, Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701), and Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT).

What will become of these OEM deals? "I think they're under discussion; I think there's an openess all round to see if we can work something out," says Cohen.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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