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3Com, Trapeze team on wireless

Aug 17, 20042 mins

* 3Com and Trapeze Networks make WLAN partnership official

3Com is once again entering into a partnership to get network products out the door – this week Trapeze Networks revealed it has signed an agreement with 3Com for enterprise wireless LAN gear.

3Com and Trapeze said they would work together to develop wireless products – details were not given – but in the meantime 3Com will be OEMming WLAN equipment from Trapeze and licensing Trapeze’s RingMaster wireless deployment and management software.

3Com already offers WLAN access points, bridges, adapters and routers, but the Trapeze offerings seem intended for larger enterprises, with wireless switches and management systems.

The move in some ways parallels 3Com’s earlier partnership with Huawei Technologies. There, 3Com lacked high-end switching gear (after ditching its previous offerings in a cost-cutting frenzy) and used an OEM relationship with Huawei to get back into that market. It started offering the first product from that relationship a year ago, and then formed a joint venture with Huawei to develop and sell more gear.

This move with Trapeze was rumored last month, as it became clear that 3Com needed a partner to sustain its growth in the WLAN arena. Before the Trapeze rumors surfaced, other theories being bandied about were that 3Com would buy a start-up or retrofit its wired switches to handle wireless:

Wireless switches are a relatively new area. With a deal like this, 3Com gets to offer something to larger enterprises, and the two-year-old Trapeze gets a new marketing arm for its products.