Wavelink Corp.:Getting by With Less

 
 
By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2003-11-01
 
 
 
Companies with large and rapidly changing wireless local-area networks could easily go broke—and face big security problems—if they tried to get by without management software such as Wavelink Corp.'s Mobile Manager and Avalanche.

"There are a lot of settings that have to be changed and tuned on wireless access points," says Tim Stettheimer, CIO at St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, Ala. Stettheimer's wireless network has grown to 168 access points spread out over nearly a million square feet of hospital and office space. Individually configuring each access point was not realistic. "For one thing, I couldn't come up with enough staff to do that," he says.

Stettheimer and other managers say Wavelink's products allow them to get by with fewer administrators, even as Wi-Fi networks expand.

Guy Ledbetter, help desk manager of Orlando, Fla.,-based retailer ABC Fine Wines & Spirits, dedicates only one of his 11 staffers to oversee the wireless network, which connects 150 stores with ABC's headquarters. For some tasks—such as configuring Palm handheld devices used by store clerks to record product deliveries and report inventory levels—Ledbetter would need to walk managers in each store through the process. "That would be a nightmare," he says.

Wavelink products allow managers to monitor whether wireless access points are working, and to scan for rogue access points. Mobile Manager can also be used to remotely configure wireless access points to, for example, recognize new users or new types of client devices. Most important to security-conscious users such as Ledbetter, Mobile Manager can automatically rotate encryption keys to make them harder to hack.

That's not to say customers are completely satisfied. Jim Doellman, director of technical services at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, says Mobile Manager's basic statistical reporting isn't enough. He wants to easily display results on access-point utilization, for example, in formats that hospital managers can understand.

Arkansas State University's Eric Barnett says the university decided against using Avalanche for managing wireless devices because the product is licensed on a per-user basis. "With [10,000] potential users, Avalanche becomes really cost-prohibitive," he says. "It's easy to justify the cost of Mobile Manager which is priced per access point. It's not so easy to justify Avalanche."

ABC Fine Wines & Spirits has expanded its wireless network without adding staff using Wavelink, says guy ledbetter.



Wavelink Corp.
11332 NE 122nd Way, Kirkland, WA 98034
(425) 823-0111 www.wavelink.com

Employees: 80

Robert Whelan
Chairman, CTO, Founder
Develops strategy and product direction.Previously involved with software ventures.

David Bullis
President, CEO
Before being named CEO in January 2002, he was CEO of Loudeye Technology, an Internet streaming-media company, and Data I/O.

Jim Souders
VP, Worldwide Sales
Joined company in January 2002. Previously held management positions at GTE, Objective Systems Integrators, and Dorado Software.

Products
Wavelink Mobile Manager for the network; Avalanche for management of wireless devices; and Mobile Manager Enterprise.


Reference Checks

ABC Fine Wines & Spirits
Guy Ledbetter
Help Desk Manager
guyl@abcfws.com
Project: Mobile Manager manages remote access points for 150 stores. Avalanche updates Palm devices with right software configurations.

St. Agnes Medical Center
David Horsham
Senior Manager, Network Services
(559) 450-3000
Project: Mobile Manager controls 53 Cisco access points for hospital staff. using handheld devices and laptops to order and dispense medicines. Mobile Manager dynamically changes 128-bit encryption keys.

University of Maryland
Leah Goldman
Senior Network Engineer
(301) 405-4416
Project: Mobile Manager remotely configures and monitors 270 access points from a variety of vendors.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital
Jim Doellman
Director, Technical Services
jim.doellman@cchmc.org
Project: Two networking employees use Mobile Manager to monitor and automatically configure 70 Cisco access points in the main patient areas.

Arkansas State University
Eric Barnett
Wireless Administrator
ebarnett@astate.edu
Project: Uses Mobile Manager to manage and configure access points supporting multiple security methods, including Cisco LEAP and address authentication.

St. Vincent's Hospital
Tim Stettheimer
VP, CIO
tim.stettheimer@stv.org
Project: Uses Mobile Manager to automate the process of changing access point settings.