An attitude shift has begun in some technology circles, fueled by hopes that corporations will begin a new round of spending on WiFi wireless technology that workers can use to make business decisions on the go. Intel and Cisco Systems, two pillars of the Silicon Valley economy, have made loud statements in favor of WiFi this year — Intel with its commitment to spend more than $300 million marketing its Centrino wireless chipset, and Cisco with its $500 million purchase of consumer wireless gear maker Linksys.
But no trend in the wireless business has caused more of a stir than WiFi switches, boxes that manage the traffic on a corporate wireless network by providing efficient connections to multiple users and alerting the company to intruders.
The key issue is security. Wireless start-ups like to capitalize on the idea that wireless networks are a juggernaut force in the workplace — companies can either create them and secure them, or do nothing while workers install store-bought equipment and jeopardize corporate secrets.