Nouveau CEO for Tahoe?

It's all change at the top for wireless router startup Tahoe Networks, sources tell Unstrung.

The latest scuttlebutt is that CEO of Onetta Inc., Dennis Barsema, may take over from Arthur Lin as a temporary CEO. "Tahoe's got a new interim CEO -- apparently that's required for the next funding round," one source says.

"Dennis is expanding his role at the company," another source familiar with the situation told us. Barsema is currently on the board at Tahoe.

However, Bob Macdonald, the media spokesman at Onetta, denies that Barsema has left the company and says that he is still president and CEO.

Tahoe would not comment.

It wouldn't be the first change at the top for Tahoe. In July, Lin replaced the man he helped found the company with, Anthony Alles, as CEO.

Tahoe has positioned itself as a player in both the GPRS/UMTS and CDMA2000 markets with hardware and software for what it calls the "mobile Internet edge" to provide routing and advanced service functionality. It is one of a number of startups challenging incumbent vendors in this market (see Having a Flutter on the GGSNs).

For those of you that missed the 2.5G wireless course in engineering school, wireless routers -- also known GPRS Gateway Support Nodes (GGSNs) in GSM-derived networks and Packet Data Serving Nodes (PDSNs) in CDMA setups -- are the primary interface between a carrier’s radio and packet core networks. In their next-generation guises, these wireless routers comprise a new class of equipment that adds sophisticated service creation, billing, and IP traffic management capabilities to this point in the network.

Tahoe has just named Finnish carrier Radiolinja Oy as the first carrier to officially trial its GPRS gateway support node (GGSN). The company claims there are others testing its product, but they are as yet unnamed (see Tahoe Trials With Finns).

At the time, Herve Liboureau, Tahoe's VP of EMEA sales, told us that the company was not currently looking for more investment. But hey, a week is a long time in the life of a wireless startup.

If nothing else, such corporate manoeuvres show once again what a strange and incestuous little place the IP networking world is. Before he moved to Onetta (see Redback's Barsema to Lead Startup), Barsema was CEO at Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK). That would be the same Redback Networks that sued Tahoe in August 2001, alleging that the wireless startup was using its trade secrets. The case was settled in January 2002 (see Redback's Wireless Past ).

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung
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