Fluke considers wireless tests

The company best known for testing cables is determined not to be left in the lurch when users throw them away in favour of wireless networks

Fluke Networks has dropped hints that it is considering a wireless signal analysis product aimed at the small business market. "We don't do wireless test equipment, but watch this space," said Matthew Bell, senior product manager for Fluke Networks, at the launch of a tool for analysing virtual LANs and switched workgroups. "A wireless network could have a huge market." The direction would be interesting for a company known for testing cables, but Fluke's business has developed into network analysis, and devices connected across air need as much of this as wired devices, if not more. The latest Fluke analyser combines fixed and mobile systems as well as a console. "While many vendors offer packet capture and troubleshooting capabilities, the OptiView Workgroup Analyzer discovers the network down to Layer 2 and maps out the topology," said David St Onge, senior analyst for Enterprise Management Associates. It includes protocol analysis, active discovery and includes a console. The analyser provides an inventory of the workgroup, said Bell, and generates Visio network maps. Fluke Networks recently acquired its rival, the previous leader in handheld cable testers, Microtest. In analysis, its main competitor is Network Associates' Sniffer, which Bell describes as more trouble to install, and "more expensive" - a typical Sniffer system costing £25,000 to £29,000, and Fluke coming in £10,000 less.


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