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Dave Molta
Dave Molta

Next-Generation WLANs: Version 1.0

Why is more than $100 million flowing into WLAN start-ups in this post-bubble era of cautious tech speculation?

Past Is Present

There are lessons here for IT organizations considering the emerging wireless LAN infrastructure market. Today's dominant technology--the smart access point--is akin to the PC of the early '90s. It's become increasingly powerful, and increasingly difficult to manage. There must be a better way.

At least some venture capitalists seem to think so. Perhaps they see Cisco's wireless LAN model as flawed and its position as the enterprise WLAN king not quite as secure as Microsoft's dominance in the PC arena proved to be. Why else would we see upward of $100 million flowing into start-up wireless LAN companies in this post-bubble era of cautious tech speculation?

At least half a dozen start-ups--including Airespace, Aruba, Chantry and Trapeze--are rolling out enterprise-oriented wireless LAN infrastructure systems this year. Some are well-funded, well-managed and bursting with bright engineers trying to build a better mousetrap.

But it's a good bet that two years from now, most of these companies won't be around. Despite this market's significant growth potential, there isn't enough business to sustain them.

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