Wireless switch vendor Aruba Networks is to buy Network Chemistry's wireless intrusion detection and prevention business, and plans to integrate it with its own products.

Of the wireless switch vendors, Aruba has made the biggest show of offering security, including updates to support the PCI data security standards. The acquisition gives it a full intrusion prevention service (IPS) which it will integrate with its products and sell as an add-on option.

Network Chemistry was one of a clutch of identikit wireless security vendors, including AirDefense and AirTight, who all made similar claims but have suffered from the slow uptake of wireless and the perception of security as an add-on to wireless LANs.

"Network Chemistry had least impact in Europe, but it had some of the best technology, according to Gartner," said Roger Hockaday, director of marketing EMEA at Aruba. NetChem did not have strong OEM agreements, doing a deal with minor player Xirrus, and leaving it to AirDefense and AirTight to secure the switches of Aruba's rivals Trapese, Meru, Colubris, Siemens and others.

The purchase will use money made available by Aruba's recent flotation, and is driven by Aruba's need for security staff and expertise, as much as NetChem's products, according to Hockaday - although Aruba will continue to support existing Network Chemistry customers.

"Everyone has their own experitise - theirs is in the ability to handle even the most difficult clients," said Hockaday. "They also have a beautiful dashboard, one of the best we've seen in terms of presenting information simply. This really enhances the WIDS (Wireless Intrusion Detections Systems) element at Aruba."

Both Aruba and Network Chemistry have senior members in the WVE (Wireless Vulnerabilities and Exploits) group.

"This validates what we have always said, that if you are buying enterprise wireless infrastructure, you need IPS," said Anthony Perridge, vice president EMEA for AirDefense. "Infrastructure providers can acquire the technology, or can take a partner, as in the case of Nortel, Trapeze, Symbol and Enterasys [all AirDefense partners]."

We reviewed Network Chemistry's RFprotect in 2005, and covered a hospital using Network Chemistry in June this year.

Despite the sell-off, Network Chemistry will continue, putting its remaining efforts into a speculative "IT intelligence" project called Wishbone, that promises to make IT systems management easier by using search algorithms to "find the hidden relationships between data from different systems and devices."