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Air Force Buys into ReefEdge's Wireless LANs

By Erin Joyce

When the US Air Force takes stock and inventory of its massive air transportation centers around the world, many of the systems will be using ReefEdge's software for wireless Local Area Networks.

After testing a few companies' wireless LAN software, the USAF Air Mobility Command decided to go with ReefEdge's "Connect System."

The Fort Lee, N.J.-based maker of wireless LAN software said the product would be used for the Air Force's wireless LAN deployments in its air transportation centers across the world.

The transportation centers are part of the Air Force's Global Air Transportation Execution System (or in one of the military's many acronyms, GATES), which processes and tracks cargo, and provides resource management support. The GATES division also has to keep track of logistical information, message routing and delivery services for all airlift data.

The purchase includes ReefEdge's "Connect Systems" that enable centralized management of internal networks without requiring any new client software. Also included in the deal is ReefEdge's "Connect Bridges" product, which form so-called micro-firewalls at the edge of a network and help build more security in the 802.11b infrastructure that enables the WLAN. The company says it also works with other protocols, such as 802.11a and Bluetooth.

Inder Gopal, CEO of ReefEdge, Inc., was well, beaming about the deal to provide the wireless LAN software to a major division of the Air Force.

"The ability to access essential information and services--from any location, at any time-will have a direct impact on the USAF's speed of response in times of crisis," said the former AT&T researcher. He declined to provide the size of the contract.

The year-old company raised $15 million in August from backers that include New York's RRE Ventures.

ReefEdge is made up of former researchers from AT&T, IBM and other tech bellwethers and specializes in wireless networking software that deploys short-range messaging for enterprise users with wireless architecture standards such as 802.11b, 802.11a and Bluetooth.

That it would snag a deal with the Air Force on WLAN products will boost its profile, adds Gemma Paulo of Cahners In-Stat Group.

"The fact that the US Air Force has chosen ReefEdge Connect Systems to boost wireless security is a plus for the wireless LAN industry which has been criticized for its weak security standards."