BT is reselling a "blanket" wireless switch from Extricom, which covers a building using adjacent access points on the same Wi-Fi channel.
BT iNET, a division of BT Global Services created last year, has sold several systems already, including one at Bishop’s Stortford College in Hertfordshire, where Extricom systems have been put in residence halls within the College’s 130-acre campus to give students Internet access in their dorms as well as in the IT classrooms (read our case study).
Extricom's system is designed for seamless mobility, because there is no handoff between access points, it's also easy to deploy, according to Stephen Bacon, head of information technology at the College, who says it has needed little or no management since being put in last year. A single-channel blanket means no "cell-planning" is required to avoid co-channel interference when access points are installed in a building.
iNet has been working with Extricom for some time. It installed the Bishop's Stortford network last year, and has had a case study on its site for months.
Despite this, iNet has taken a long while to make the announcement - a delay which may be bureaucratic, or may be connected to the fact that iNet is a Cisco gold partner, selling Cisco's rival wireless LAN, which - like most wireless LAN systems - uses cell planning. The Extricom system has reportedly been easier to install, but iNet is still working with both.
The Extricom system will come into its own as voice and location applications become more important, according to Steve Northedge, vice president of EMEA sales there. "Voice and location applications demand mobility, and this is the first system to bring total and seamless mobility to Wi-Fi, while also enhancing all other facets of performance such as coverage, capacity, and security."
Despite positioning itself as forward-thinking, Extricom has warned users not to adopt 802.11n fast Wi-Fi technology before it is standardised.