Running scared?

Everything about this Wi-Fi test was large, including the large number of vendors that declined to take part.

We invited 19 Wi-Fi vendors to participate: 3Com, Aruba Networks, Avaya, Bluesocket, Cisco, Colubris Networks, Enterasys, Extreme Networks, Extricom, Foundry Networks, HP, Meru Networks, Nortel, Proxim, Siemens, Symbol Technologies, Trapeze Networks, Vernier and Xirrus.

In the end, only Aruba and Meru stepped up with products to be tested.

What happened to the others? To be fair, some vendors weren’t a good fit for a large-scale enterprise Wi-Fi controller-plus-access-points test. These included Bluesocket, Vernier and Xirrus (though the last vendor makes a product incorporating multiple access points).

Other vendors didn’t respond. Some vendors responded, but not with compelling excuses.

For example, Cisco first said scheduling problems would prevent it from committing to our test schedule. We rescheduled the test, giving Cisco an additional two months to prepare. The vendor did not respond to repeated invitations to come in at a later date. Given Cisco’s large market share and its relatively strong showing in past Wi-Fi tests, we’re disappointed and puzzled by its absence and its silence.

Every Wi-Fi vendor tells prospective customers its gear can scale up to meet the demands of enterprise service. Only two vendors — Aruba and Meru — can put numbers to that claim, however, something network managers can use in assessing Wi-Fi vendors.

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