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Propagate Changes Channels

Wireless LAN software startup Propagate Networks Inc. will announce next week that it is changing its name, updating its software, and looking to expand its reach in the consumer market.

Propagate is planning to change its name to AutoCell, which just happens to be the name of its radio management software. Apparently, potential customers grew more familar with the name of the software than the company that developed it, according to Patrick Rafter, VP of communications at the firm [ed. note: hey, catchy name like AutoCell, it could happen].

"People kept getting confused," says Rafter.

AutoGate [ed. note: whoops! now its happening to us] has developed software to automatically optimize wireless LAN networks. Once the firm's, er, firmware is installed on an 802.11 access point, it can monitor the RF environment and swap channels and turn the radio down to avoid network interference (see Propagate Looks to Clear the Air).

The latest version of PropaCell's software will take advantage of this ability to listen to the radio environment, to offer location tracking services by triangulating the signal from APs on the network, according to Rafter.

The company's major customers currently include Accton Technology Corp., Atheros Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ATHR), and Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR), which means that the company is playing the enterprise and SMB market at the moment.

But -- just as wireless is increasingly being used in the home -- so could AutoCell's interference-busting technology, according to Rafter. Especially as there are so many sources of potential interference chez wireless, such as microwave ovens, cordless phones, Webcams, and doorbells (!). (See Pop-Up Pariahs.)

Rafter says that the firm "will be announcing something soon" with a new consumer partner.

"Wherever radios are, we will be," Rafter declares firmly and apparently without irony.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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