Meru's Core Values

Wireless LAN provider Meru Networks Inc. is hoping to unwire even more of the corporate office space with its latest product release, which the company unveiled today along with a $25 million round of venture funding and the appointment of its first permanent CFO.

Ihab Abu-Hakima, the president and CEO of the Sunnyvale, Calif., firm, casts this flurry of news as an indication that the company has entered the next phase of its development. "We’re basically coming out of this late-stage startup phase and moving into a pre-IPO phase," he tells Unstrung.

To that end, the company has brought on Dan Steimle as its chief financial officer. Meru notes that Steimle has "successfully executed multiple IPOs," taking such firms as Advanced Fibre Communications and Santa Cruz Operations public.

The company has also added to its coffers with a fourth round of funding, its first since June last year. First-time investor Lehman Brothers led the $25 million round, which also included previous major investors, bring the total invested in the company to around $68 million. (See Meru Gets $12M Third Round.)

Despite the fresh executive blood and cash influx, however, the company hasn't revamped its marketing message, unlike startup rivals such as Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN), which currently advertises itself as "The Mobile Edge" company.

Meru is essentially still talking about its concept of voice-over-wireless LAN, voice and data scaleability, and security, just as it did back in 2003. "I don't think the market really kicked in until 2005," notes Abu-Hakima. (See Meru Takes Flight.)

The firm's latest product release extends the wireless scaleability concept by removing more Ethernet cabling from enterprise offices. To this end, a Meru controller and radio switch are installed at the network core. Attached to the core switch, the multi-radio switch then links wirelessly to other switches on the network, which connect wirelessly to Meru access points.

The company says that the new product, which is being introduced with a new AP150 entry-level access point, can help eliminate installation costs by reducing cable runs in branch offices and hard-to-wire buildings.

The wireless-to-the-core concept also has another benefit, according to Meru's director of product marketing, Nate Walker: "It's similar to a wired Ethernet network today -- you can aggregate the channels."

This means that users can set wireless voice and data channels across the enterprise and control the bandwidth allowed for each application at the core.

The firm adds that the core update will be applicable to all its access points after a software upgrade.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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