Motorola has refreshed the software for its wireless LAN switches in a bid to recapture ground it has lost to competitors, but should upgrade its architecture, say analysts.
"We have not only caught up [with our competitors], we have leapfrogged them," said Sujai Hajela, vice president and general manager of enterprise WLAN at Motorola's enterprise mobility business. The company has launched an RF management suite, including planning, intrusion protection, monitoring and device management, at Gartner's ITxpo today.
The suite includes features already available from competitors, such as Aruba, Trapeze, Cisco and Colubris, which have elaborated on the centralised wireless switch concept since Symbol - now a Motorola subsidiary - first bought it to market in 2002.
"I'm not sure this is as genuinely unique as Motorola would claim," said Richard Webb, wireless analyst at Infonetics Research. "They were first in the market, but their status as an innovator has been severely under threat. Aruba and Trapeze have come out with features that outstripping Motorola's switch product and lightweight ports."
The Motorola launch does go beyond the competitors' offerings, claimed Hajela, and includes a lot of Symbol intellectual property, including some from Wireless Valley which Symbol bought last year, and integrated with its products earlier this year.
However, for some security features, Symbol is relying - like its competitors - on third party software, in this case from AirDefense.
The RF product will help promote Motorola's WLAN flagship, the RFS7000, a Symbol product designed for large enterprises. "We are going into companies with 5,000 locations," said Hajela.
It will also flesh out the Wi-NG architecture which Symbol announced at Interop in 2006. "Wi-NG was a little fuzzy," said Webb. "That roadmap clarity came through from other vendors rather than Symbol."
For instance, while Symbol continues to promote lightweight access points, and centralised controllers, vendors such as Trapeze and Clubris have moved on to architectures where some traffic is switched locally - to avoid the bottleneck that will be created when 802.11n products reach the enterprise.
"When you have a lot of users, and the bandwidth all goes through the switch, that can be a real bottleneck," said Webb. "It doesn't seem like Symbol has evolved its product."