Proxim: All Quiet on the Switch Front

Proxim Corp. (Nasdaq: PROX) is keeping quiet on a launch date for its "Maestro" wireless LAN switch product, but has promised an update on the status of the project this fall.

Some analysts had been expecting an announcement in the third quarter.

The Maestro 802.11 switch architecture is part of a project of Avaya Inc. (NYSE: AV), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and Proxim to develop technology that will enable connectivity among WLAN, cellular, and IP networks (see Trio Combine For Convergence).

However, Proxim is unwilling to talk about exactly what it is contributing to the joint venture, saying that all three partners would have to consent to give details. "I cannot comment," says Lynn Lucas, director of wireless LAN marketing at Proxim. On Monday, the enterprise vendor chose to halt the in-house development of network management software for its ORiNOCO wireless LAN access points -- opting instead for a partnership with Wavelink Corp. (see Proxim, Wavelink Team on WLAN).

"This announcement has no bearing on our wireless LAN switch development," Lucas says.

However, it is hard to see quite what the status of development work on management software for the Maestro switch is -- or even if the code is actually being worked on by one or more of the other partners in the joint venture -- because Proxim is very leery of giving out too much information on the project. Lucas says that development work on Maestro is continuing but could not offer any further technical details.

Proxim has definitely stopped work on its current access point management software, although they will continue to support legacy users. “They have actually given up,” David Bullis, CEO of Wavelink tells Unstrung, in a comment that no doubt will greatly endear him to his new partner. “They will no longer do in-house software development [related to network management].”

“Instead of Proxim investing in developing network management tools to monitor not only our own access points but also those of different vendors, we felt it would be better for us to concentrate on other areas," says Lucas. She notes that Proxim will continue to work on security software. "We are not outsourcing any developments in the area around security. We are spending a good portion of our R&D on that on a day-to-day basis.”

Proxim's eventual entry into the wireless LAN switch market will see it join the glut of incumbent vendors and startups already operating in this crowded arena (see 2005: A Switch Odyssey? and WLAN Switches: The Brains Behind 802.11?).

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, and Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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