Meru has launched its RS4000 wireless switch, designed for wireless VoIP, in Europe, and announced a big batch of wins in schools.

"It is our strategy to roll products out as they meet users' requirements, and universities and schools have not had a need for high density deployments till now," said Kamal Anand, Meru's vice president of international sales. "In the US, all students have laptops, and all schools have wireless." Europe is changing, he says, with Meru networks installed in many places including 100 schools in Norway, and some as-yet-unannounced hospitals and universities in the UK.

Meru's products are particularly suited for VoIP as well as data, the company says, because they use a "blanket architecture" for WiFi LANs, that puts adjacent access points on the same RF channel, cutting installation costs, and removing the need for client such as laptops and handhelds to roam between different channels on access points.

The switch, available in the US for a year, has been adopted for Philadelphia's "School of the Future" programme, a project involving Microsoft which will put technology into 278 schools. Meru's products now have around 70 US school districts using them, thanks to a big push in the education sector, which the company plans to continue in Europe.

Meru was first to come out with a blanket architecture, in 2003, but has not been seen much in Europe so far, despite appearances at trade shows, and a steady increase in sophistication - extending to 12 simultaneous channels in 2005. Its architecture has won it partnerships with Juniper and Avaya. At Interop in the US this year, it began to talk about making WiFi-based backbones, an angle it is expected to push further in future.

The RS4000 is available now from 802global and Siracom starting at £995.