3Com Converges Wireless and Wired LANs
Those who think 3Com will rest easy while Hewlett-Packard digests the company might want to think again. Specifically, 3Com has introduced a new technology that enables both wired and wireless LANs to run on a single layer, potentially eliminating a whole host of headaches for solution providers installing or managing separate wired and wireless networks.
3Com’s newest H3C Enterprise Wireless LAN portfolio utilizes technology called Unified Network Access (UNA), which combines wired and wireless layers into one network access layer, effectively eliminating separate wired and wireless layers. Such an ah-hah idea likely simplifies both installation and management and reduces hardware costs; one H3C chassis can support thousands of access points, which is a nice number when you’re talking about enterprise or campus environments.
The H3C products that support UNA right now include integrated controller modules for the S7500E chassis and S5800 Flex Chassis switching platforms, as well as standalone controllers, unified switches and myriad access points. 3Com said it will integrate UNA into its entire enterprise networking portfolio going forward.
The idea of one LAN supporting both wired and wireless connections is definitely one whose time has come, given the increasing complexities of networking hardware coupled with increasingly complex customer demands. Solution providers implementing new network installations or upgrading existing networks are all too familiar with this.
But what may be more interesting in the long run is what HP does with this technology when its acquisition of 3Com is complete. It certainly will be one of the bigger guns in its arsenal against rival Cisco, since right now it apparently is the only technology of its kind. HP would do well to capitalize on this before Cisco catches up.