New Proxim Promises End-To-End Wireless Integration

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Solution provider partners of Proxim and Western Multiplex will not have to wait long to see the results of the merger of the two wireless networking vendors, said Jonathan Zakin, CEO of the newly combined entity.

Shareholders of the two companies approved the merger March 26.

The deal creates a combined company with products ranging from low-end consumer HomeRF to 802.11a, 802.11b wireless LAN gear as well as wireless Ethernet bridges and wireless carrier backhaul products.

The combined company will keep the Proxim name and be headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Zakin told CRN that partners can expect to see the first signs of product integration in the next month or two, including product bundles, manuals, integration kits and marketing materials.

The next step in the process is an integrated wireless network management system, due out by the fourth quarter, based on Proxim's Web-based GUI, Zakin said. The upgraded management system will allow solution providers and their customers to manage both Proxim's 802.11-based indoor wireless LAN (WLAN) hardware and Western Multiplex's Ethernet bridges on one platform, Zakin said.

Fully integrated hardware from the new company is planned for the second quarter of 2003, he said.

The plan sounds interesting, said Jack Davis, president and CEO of Beverly, Mass.-based wireless solution provider SideBand Systems. "But the proof is in the pudding. I hope the sum of this merger is greater than the parts independently."

The former Proxim's strength in the WLAN market complements Western Multiplex's point-to-point high-speed wireless Ethernet bridges and last-mile access products, said Zakin. Western's Tsunami brand wireless Ethernet bridges are used as WAN connections between buildings and campuses, with speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps.

Zakin said the former Proxim, strong in the health-care and government markets, hasn't penetrated the corporate enterprise market. The new company is hoping to tap into Western Multiplex's channel partners to move the Proxim 802.11 product into corporate accounts, he said.

However, many of Western Multiplex's partners already sell Cisco, Nortel or Agere WLAN gear and pair it with Western's Ethernet bridges.

Proxim will have to deliver the best product for the solution, regardless of the merger, Davis said. "We look at products based on their technical merits," he said. "If it's the right product for the job, then we include it. Sometimes that is a Proxim product, and sometimes it isn't."

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