Cisco Systems plans to target its new wireless local area network (Lan) products at the home and small business market, joining 3Com, Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks in this space.
The move follows Cisco's announcement earlier this month that it intended to buy wireless Lan supplier, Aironet, for approximately $799 million. Wireless Lans are on-site networks based on radio technology that enable PC users to establish and maintain a connection anywhere in the building.
Cisco plans to integrate Aironet's wireless adapter cards and access points into its own middle tier switching lines, security offerings, network management applications, quality of service and policy based networking products.
Larry Birenbaum, vice president of Cisco's desktop switching business unit, said he believed wireless Lans could help enterprises capitalise on the convergence of voice and data, enabling employees to roam around a facility and make calls on the same phone from any desk.
But he added that Cisco may use new channels to market to reach home users because this is not the supplier's traditional market.
"Wireless has had tremendous success in business, and it will also have an undeniable role in the consumer and home markets," he said.
Kneko Burney, an analyst at the Cahners In Stat Group, said: "Cisco has certainly been one of the key movers and shakers for networking, so its acquisition of Aironet will bring a lot of credibility to the wireless Lan market."
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