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Bluesocket secures US$10 million in venture funding

Bluesocket secures US$10 million in venture funding

Bluesocket, which got its start in the wireless LAN market back when people were more enthused about Bluetooth than Wi-Fi, has secured $US10 million in additional venture funding.

Having launched in 1999, Bluesocket is no start-up. The maker of wireless network security and management boxes claims to be closing in on 1000 customers and has now amassed $US42 million in four rounds of funding.

One reason the gateway vendor needs the funds is that despite the proliferation of WLANs, making money in the business isn't easy.

Weaker companies have begun closing down or getting bought out, while established vendors such as Cisco Systems (a Bluesocket partner) and Nortel Networks are winning more than their fair share of customers. Privately held Bluesocket wouldn't disclose financial details, but said it doesn't expect to be profitable until late next year or the year after even though revenue is more than doubling year over year.

Bluesocket cites education and healthcare as being among the most active vertical markets for WLANs, with government installations picking up. Bluesocket CEO, Ralph Calistri, who joined the company in August, said the new funds would enable the company to expand its product line as well as its sales and marketing efforts.

"The market is growing real fast," Calistri said. "Unless we have the additional money to expand both technically and in the field we won't be able to [take advantage of] expansion of the market."

While Calistri said the market still awaited the emergence of many giant corporate-wide WLANs, he said Bluesocket's systems integration organisation was seeing RFPs that indicated such networks might not be far off. These RFPs showed plans for Fortune 100 company rollouts that span thousands of remote offices, Calistri said. Customers were still challenged to figure out who the players were given the dozens of vendors in the market.

The company is tight-lipped about product plans, though pledges to reveal new developments later this quarter and early in the second quarter. The company's vice-president of marketing, Dave Danielson, said intrusion prevention technology was among the additions customers should anticipate.

He also said the company's product line would be expanded to do more in the way of using roles and policies to keep the bad guys out and let the good guys in.

"The trust boundary in wireless is expanding to include not just authenticating users and ensuring what people are doing and where they are going, but it is also growing to include where they are coming from, what's the layout of the RF airwaves, what's the intrusion detection system," he said.

Bluesocket is distributed exclusively in Australia by Integrity Data Systems.


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