Foundry Networks has put voice networking at the heart of a range of new products which roll out in the UK today. The devices include high-density stackable switches that supply the Gigabit Power-over-Ethernet connections needed by next-generation wireless access points, and WLAN controllers able to recognise voice protocols and give priority to VoIP connections.

On the software side, the company has updated its IronView Network Manager application to version 2 and added a wireless location program which can track the position of WiFi devices in real time. This enables INM to locate rogue APs and even block access to devices located outside company premises, said Bob Schiff, VP and general manager of Foundry's enterprise business unit.

"Part of this is the accuracy of our triangulation and part is our ability to inventory the equipment out there," Schiff said. "We also have a 'heat map' capability which you can use for site surveys."

He added that INM v2 will especially complement Foundry's new IronPoint Mobility series of wireless LAN controllers and APs, the combination of which can support up to 30 voice-over-WiFi clients per AP.

"It's a protocol-aware controller, so all requests from the APs to the network are managed," he said. "Rather than have wireless as a shared medium, we implement connection admission control, giving priority to voice. Protocol awareness is important - I don't see other vendors doing that yet."

The controller recognises SIP, Spectralink and Vocera protocols to provide voice calls with wired-equivalent quality of service, Schiff claimed.

He said that Foundry is also developing a series of 802.11n-compatible wireless switches for launch early in 2007. These will include PoE, Gigabit Ethernet with 10Gig uplinks, and controller features such as protocol awareness.

In the meantime, it has released 24- and 48-port stackable Gig PoE edge switches, which Schiff claimed were the densest and cheapest of their kind. He said FastIron GS switches have hot-swap redundant power supplies, optional 10Gig uplinks and high-powered Class 3 PoE ports, yet cost less than $200 per port.

Also getting ready for the next generation of fast and power-hungry wireless access points is PowerDsine, whose power-injecting midspan devices can be used to PoE-enable an older switch. The company said that its 8000 series of midspans can deliver up to 39W per port - more than twice the output of Class 3 PoE. This would enable the 8000 series to power devices such as WiMax base stations, it said.