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Legra: The Perfect Prescription?

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
4/28/2003

Despite sounding more like an allergy medicine than a networking startup Legra Systems is the latest hopeful young company to cough up a wireless LAN switch.

The company, based in Burlington, Mass., and headed up by LanOptics Ltd. (Nasdaq: LNOP) cofounder Israel Dror, is producing a Layer 2 switch, or "smart hub," and Linux-based security and management software to control wireless LAN access point networks. (See Vivato's Switch Bitch for a fuller debate on what a wireless LAN switch actually is.) The product is expected to ship in the summer.

So what is there that can set this product apart from the ever-increasing number of offerings from established players and startups? (See WLAN Switch Shakeout Looms?.) Legra's remote radio technology means that access points can be connected to the wired switch already installed in the wiring closet and, as long as Legra's switch is connected to the existing switch, the access points can tunnel back and connect to the Legra switch to get their dose of management smarts and other high-IQ 802.11 features. In other words, Legra's got a nice, neat migration story for folk that have a LAN switch installed, want to add smarts to their access nodes ("if I only had a brain"), but don't especially feel like junking their existing switched networks.

The company is using a proprietary protocol on top of IP to enable the connectivity back to the switch. "We're kicking around the idea of making it available open source," Paul DeBeasi, VP of product management and marketing, tells Unstrung.

This is in keeping with the company's bullish position on the role of Linux and the open source community in the wireless LAN world. The firm claims that its Linux-based wireless operating system, which is installed on the switch, will make it easy for customers to upgrade to "best-of-breed" third-party security and management apps. Legra expects to announce its first customers when the product launches.

Legra is backed to the tune of $8.5 million by Genesis Partners and Kodiak Venture Partners.

[Side effects of Legra include stuffy nose, sneezing, headaches, palpitations, nausea, and hairballs.]

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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