UK start-up addresses wireless’ Achilles heel

Synad Technologies says that its new AgileRF architecture has been developed to deliver interoperability in wireless local area networks.

Synad Technologies Limited, a fabless chip start-up focused on wireless networking, today announced its core technology platform – AgileRF – an architecture to deliver mobility and interoperability in wireless local area networks.

The first product from Synad will be what the company claims is the world’s first dual mode IEEE 802.11a and IEEE 802.11b chipset roaming solution for wireless local area network (WLAN) clients, typically portable PCs.

The AgileRF architecture consists of three elements: RF switching management to maintain a wireless link with an access point; access point surveillance to determine the availability of other access points in the users vicinity; and an association management function to manage the switching process between different access points without dropping network connectivity for the user.

The AgileRF architecture will enable dynamic switching between 802.11a and 802.11b to whichever access point is providing the optimum service without user intervention. This will enable 802.11a and 802.11b to co-exist interoperably from the users perspective, on the same wireless local area network.

802.11a, the emerging standard for wireless networks delivers five times the throughput of its established 802.11b counterpart.

‘The AgileRF architecture addresses the fact that 802.11a and 802.11b are not interoperable, and the fact that there is no evolutionary path from one standard to another means that they are potentially competitive. At the very least the confusion caused in the market by the co-existence of two standards is stalling adoption of wireless networks,’ said Mike Baker, CEO and Founder of Synad.

Synad believes that by addressing the Achilles heel of wireless networking head on it will ultimately drive migration from 802.11b to the faster 802.11a standard. Beyond this, Synad believes that removing the confusion between the two wireless standards will accelerate the adoption of wireless local area networking.

‘Synad is removing the technical hurdle to migration and interoperability between 802.11a and 802.11b. By enabling client mobility between the two standards we will allow IT managers to deploy the most effective network configuration and the user becomes agnostic, he just wants connectivity with the available network,’ said Baker.

The need for interoperability is most acute in emerging public area networks such as in airports and hotels or wherever network provision is not managed as part of the same corporate enterprise environment, yet still the user demands seamless connectivity.

Synad will announce the specification of its chip set in Q4 2001 and will demonstrate the technology in Q1 2002.