Foundry goes wireless

If it wasn't already clear that wireless networking was working its way into the enterprise, the latest announcement by Foundry Networks should seal the deal.

The networking company has detailed its multi-pronged strategy to bring wireless networking to the enterprise. The strategy, unlike many others forged by startups, will see Foundry adapt its existing wired switches to support wireless networking.

The first phase of its plan includes wireless access points (APs) that support all current flavors of the 802.11 protocol: a, b, and g. Dubbed IronPointT 200, the new access points can be used as lightweight APs, which connect back to a wireless switch for intelligence, or as standard APs that feature built-in security.

The second phase of the strategy would be to update the company's existing wiring closet switch, FastIron, vice-president and general manager of Foundry's enterprise business unit, Ken Cheng, said.

"Wireless switches today are light on networking capability," Cheng said. "They are missing traditional L2 and L3 features." Cheng also listed the lack of Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), trunking, virtual LANs, and routing as drawbacks to new wireless switches from the likes of Aruba Wireless Networks and Trapeze Networks.

Additionally, he pointed out that several of the switches were fixed, meaning they ship with 24 ports dedicated only to wireless use.

Cheng said that the average floor in a building required 10 access points at most, leaving 14 ports unused.

The final phase of Foundry's strategy is to upgrade its BigIron chassis product early next year.

Foundry's first customer will be itself, the company has already started equipping its campus with new APs.