BT starts selling Extricom WLAN kit

Telco branches out from its portfolio of Cisco networking equipment to offer a WLAN aimed at curing the widespread problem of interference

BT iNet, the telco's LAN and IP telephony subsidiary, is to start selling Extricom equipment alongside its vast Cisco-based portfolio.

Extricom's Interference-Free Enterprise Wireless LAN System will become part of BT's mobility and convergence suite, the companies announced on Wednesday. The system takes a "channel blanket" approach — designed to eliminate co-channel interference and increase capacity — rather than the "cell-planning" structure of most wireless LAN (WLAN) systems.

"By joining forces with Extricom, BT iNet is driving the availability of reliable wireless connectivity, which can support an ever-broadening set of uses, such as voice, ubiquitous data connectivity, location services, and even streaming video," said BT iNet's managing director, Neil Pemberton.

Extricom's chief executive, Gideon Rottem, said: "Voice and location applications demand mobility, and this is the first system to bring total and seamless mobility to Wi-Fi, while also enhancing all other facets of performance, such as coverage, capacity, and security."

BT iNet still promotes itself as "the leading provider of Cisco-based LAN and IPT solutions, applications and managed services". Asked whether this relationship with Cisco would be affected by the Extricom tie-in, a spokesperson for BT said: "As an organisation, we have a huge number of partnership agreements and we have an alliance with Extricom in this particular area, but it's not a sole partnership. We go with the partner that's best suited to the job. It is the nature of collaboration in this day and age that, whoever is the most appropriate organisation for the customer, we will go with."

BT has already sold the Extricom system, covering 130 acres, to Bishop's Stortford College in Hertfordshire.