NEC Gears Up for WLANs

NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701) is preparing to make its entry into the corporate wireless LAN market next month, according to Paul Weismantel, director of the enterprise solutions unit at NEC America Inc.

The Japanese giant will promote the products as an "enterprise-class, real-time managed infrastructure" that can handle both "voice and data." To that end, NEC plans to offer potential customers voice-over-WLAN mobile handsets from the outset, according to its marketing literature.

Initially these handsets will be sourced from VOIP specialist SpectraLink Corp. (see Is 802.11 Ready for VOIP?). However, NEC is working on developing its own handsets for introduction in 2004.

As previously reported, wireless LAN switch startup Airespace Inc. will be supplying NEC with the 802.11 infrastructure (see Airespace Takes Off). Backend call routing will be handled by NEC's own NEAX IPSDM IP PBX.

NEC's major rival in the emerging voice-over-WLAN market is Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which is also working with Spectralink. (see What Cisco Won't Do Next ). Avaya Inc. (NYSE: AV), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and Proxim Corp. (Nasdaq: PROX) are also developing converged WLAN and wide-area voice and data systems for enterprise users (see Proxim: All Quiet on the Switch Front).

— Dan "NEAX IPSDM" Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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