Systimax, Ortronics go beyond connectivity, reach for the wireless LAN brass ring

There's a lot of wire in wireless. That's the argument that two structured cabling manufacturers are putting forth as they announce their venture into the wireless (WLAN) market.

There's a lot of wire in wireless. That's the argument that two structured cabling manufacturers are putting forth as they announce their venture into the wireless (WLAN) market.

Systimax Solutions (Richardson, TX; www.systimax.com), a maker of high performance cabling systems, has unveiled its Systimax AirSpeed Solution.

Not far behind, Ortronics Inc. (New London, CT; www.ortronics.com), a maker of enterprise copper Category 5e and Category 6, optical-fiber structured cabling systems, is working with a company based in Aruba to develop a Wi-Fi wireless LAN wall outlet.

Both companies announced their products and plans at the BICSI Fall Conference in Seattle, WA in August.

The companies say end users are becoming increasingly intrigued by wireless solutions. Wireless solutions, the companies believe, are coming of age, becoming less exploratory and more noteworthy.

"It's (wireless) out of the pioneering stage," says Mike Barnick, senior manager of solutions marketing/global marketing team for Systimax Solutions.

Systimax's AirSpeed Solution combines access points with Signal Enhancing Antennas (SEAs) and rack-mounted Power over Ethernet (PoE) devices to enable mobility, productivity, and network security.

Ortronics, in turn, has reached a strategic development agreement with Aruba Wireless Networks (www.arubanetworks.com), developing the wireless LAN wall outlet. The Wi-Jack Wi-Fi outlet will be marketed and manufactured by Ortronics and integrate Aruba's wireless LAN technology directly into an office network wall outlet.

The announcements represent something of a landmark in the structured cabling industry. Systimax Solutions' announcement, for example, means it is one of the first structured connectivity vendors to offer an entire WLAN solution.

Representatives from both Systimax and the Ortronics venture say the time is ripe for them to delve into wireless. Market growth and customer requests, they say, helped point them in this direction.

"The market is growing rapidly," says Vincent Bonnassieux, international product manager for Ortronics.

"We are all doing things that we haven't done before," adds John Terhoeve, director of strategy and business development for Systimax. "Finally, wireless has become demystified, and it's ready to go to market."

The companies are quick to offer the caveat that wireless will not become their sole focus. Barnick says Systimax's wireless solution will be a compliment to its end-to-end copper and fiber solutions: "Our core strategy is to sell cabling systems."

Nevertheless, both companies say they want to broaden their offerings, and they do not want to be left behind as the wireless market grows.

"We are looking at solutions and customers' needs," sums Terhoeve. "A lot of things are converging here."

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