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Agilent breaks into WLAN testing

Posted: 02 Oct 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wlan? home networking? enterprise wlan? enterprise networking? network testing?

In a bid to capitalize on the growing WLAN market, Agilent Technologies Inc. is expanding its portfolio of network testing equipment with new offerings aimed at enterprise WLAN testing.

The company has partnered with AirMagnet Inc., a provider of WLAN management and security software systems, to come up with a laptop-based WLAN testing solution and a handheld version for extra mobility.

With the wireless home networking market bogged down by slow growth, Agilent is banking on the inroads made in the enterprise WLAN arena. Growth in this sector is already evident. In Hong Kong, for example, companies like Prudential Insurance and Manulife Insurance have equipped sales representatives with wireless devices, allowing them to download data at home or in the office to generate quotes and better manage their customer portfolio.

By combining the company's network testing hardware with AirMagnet's software capabilities, Agilent hopes to leapfrog the deployment of WLAN testing solutions. "Acquiring a technology is quite a complex process so partnering with somebody like AirMagnet was a simple solution," said Richard Moss, Agilent's Business Manager for the Asia-Pacific region. "We are also adding more functionality to the software to increase the product's capability."

The Agilent WLAN Analyzer allows IT professionals to troubleshoot WLAN issues, monitor performance and conduct site surveys when deploying new access points. It also features over 70 customizable performance and security alarms.

The new WLAN test equipment also allows customers to control internal security policies, proactively defend against wireless intrusions, lock-in network performance and reliability, and create full reports on their entire network.

More companies are expected to deploy wireless networks where less cabling is involved. This can translate to lower costs compared to extending a wired infrastructure. "The cost of actually cabling a large enterprise, such as an airport or a large industrial building or an office complex, for example, is much higher than if you would deploy WLAN technology," said Moss.

A recent report by the Gartner Group projects that the number of WLAN users in North America alone will grow from 4.2 million in 2003 to more than 31 million in 2007. In another report, Datamonitor projects that the number of wirelessly connected users around the world will explode from 1.53 million today to 23 million in just three years. The Asia-Pacific WLAN market, led by South Korea, is estimated to be worth over $2 billion by 2006.

As companies expand their wireless networks and more basestations are installed, more wireless network testing and management will be required.

- Dave Ledesma

Electronic Engineering Times - Asia

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