Extreme: Ship Ahoy!

Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) is gearing up to ship the first of its wireless LAN switching products this month, a company spokeswoman has confirmed to Unstrung.

Extreme announced plans in April to introduce its first Layer-2/3 wireless LAN switch, the Summit 300-48, and associated Altitude 300 "skinny" access points (see Extreme Hatches Switch Surprise). However, after the launch, the unit developing wireless LAN products for Extreme went rather quiet (see So Extremely Sorry, Startups).

Over the last few weeks, the company has been holding a number of seminars on how to implement wireless LANs. Meanwhile, various analysts have started to report sightings of Extreme wireless LAN kit in the hands of trial customers.

"We'll be shipping in September," a company spokeswoman told Unstrung, but she wouldn't comment further.

Extreme is only the second incumbent Ethernet switch vendor to enter the WLAN market so far. Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) starting shipping its "security switch" in June (see Nortel Preps 'Security Switch').

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is taking a softer approach to managed wireless LAN environments and isn't planning switch updates until next year (see Cisco's Path to Switchdom). Enterasys Networks Inc. (NYSE: ETS) and Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY) have still not officially announced plans to enter the wireless switch market (see Enterasys Mulls Switch Switch and Foundry on the Switch Trail?).

Analysts generally see the entry of incumbent vendors like Extreme into the market as bad news for startups already in the field, including Aruba Wireless Networks and Trapeze Networks Inc. The thinking is that customers prefer to buy from established vendors rather than newbies (see WLAN Switch Shakeout Looms?). However, some pundits have noted that if the big players are conspicuously behind the technology curve in WLAN, that can give younger companies some breathing space in which to establish themselves (see SWAN Bucks Up Ducklings).

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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