Bluesocket has been a puzzle to us for five years. It had a highly regarded range of wireless LAN gateways, but in 2003/4 it lagged on the move to wireless switches. Since then, it's popped up occasionally, telling us it has a technology lead, and reporting positives moves in Gartnerspace. But real evidence of its performance has been scarce.

Our readers are clearly also puzzled - a recent blog post sparked a continuing burst of queries. We asked why the company sold Pingtel, the open-source PBX company which it only bought it last year?

Readers tell us the company has downsized drastically, and closed offices abroad - but these could just be people with some axe to grind.

So we are pleased to have a chance to hear some explanations from CEO Mads Lillelund, in a phone interview.

Still winning customers?

As a preliminary, he defends Bluseocket's customers and products. The company started with a security gateway that handled standalone access points, he says, but: "as the market changed, thin access points became the defacto standard. In 2005/6 Bluesocket developed into a full solution wireless LAN company, and built up 2,600 customers in the WLAN area" (a December 2007 release claims more than 3000).

The company's strength is in education (about 1000 customers), enterprise (another 1000 plus) and healthcare (around 450) he says, with the remainder of its customers in smaller vertical markets. The hospitality sector is growing, he says: "We're now having an opportunity to work with world class systems integrators, in the hotel and convention area."

"It's a strong portfolio of customers," he says. "We generate about 44 percent of our quarterly revenue from new customers and the rest from the existing customer base."

Leading in 802.11n?

The company started shipping an 802.11n fast Wi-Fi access points in May, he tells me.
That's later than other vendors, I point out.

Well, he counters, most vendors are using the same [Atheros] silicon, and the other vendors must have been selling APs based on early spins of the silicon, he says. "If they were selling earlier than us, they had to be on non-GA [general availability] chips."

I don't believe this - and after the interview, I check, and find Aruba's claim to have sold 10,000 Atheros-based 802.11n APs before May. (Cisco claims 50,000,but that is on earlier Marvell silicon).