Optical/IP Networks

Trapeze Could Swing With 3Com

3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) is talking to Trapeze Networks Inc. about a wireless LAN switch OEM deal, according to industry sources.

3Com was one of the early movers in the wireless LAN sector, introducing access points for both enterprise and consumer markets. But it has been noticeably slower than established network rivals like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) in announcing a strategy and products aimed at delivering more centralized 802.11 management and security features for corporate customers.

Sources say that, behind the scenes, 3Com has been talking to many of the startups in this market about striking up OEM partnerships and has now grasped hold of Trapeze.

"They've been through everyone," says one of our sources.

In the past, Trapeze's new-ish CEO, Jim Vogt, has made no secret of his desire to sign more partnership deals for the startup (see Trapeze's New Swinger).

But a spokeswoman for Trapeze wasn't so forthcoming late last Friday afternoon. "We have no comment to make at this time," she told Unstrung.

A spokeswoman for 3Com was also unable to comment when we popped the OEM question.

Craig Mathias, principal at analyst and consulting firm, the Farpoint Group -- while stressing that he hadn't heard of a deal between 3Com and Trapeze -- suggests that it may be a logical fit.

"Trapeze has a good product and 3Com has good distribution," says Mathias.

Mathias notes 3Com is used to buying in WiFi technology, as it has rebadged access points from Symbol Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SBL) under its own name in the past.

"They have no aversion to going outside to get technology," he says.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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