Now that Cisco's acquired AireSpace, Nortel Networks is partnering with Trapeze Networks to offer mesh networks and asset tracking. AireSpace was Nortel's OEM partner until acquired by Cisco. Nortel has also kicked in some cash for Trapeze's latest VC funding round.

For the near future, Trapeze will focus on mesh networking, Vogt said, making Trapeze access points work in mesh networks as well as letting the company's RingMaster management software detect and manage meshes—including the mesh equipment Nortel already offers. Mesh networks dynamically route packets from node to node. Only one access point needs to be connected directly to the wired network, with the rest sharing a connection over the air, though in large mesh environments several access points may be connected.

You can read about Cisco's mesh network plans here.

By year's end, Trapeze plans to add more client location capabilities into its management software, Vogt said. This is a growing industry trend, serving customers who need to track anything from notebooks to IV pumps. Recently, market leader Cisco introduced the 2700 Series Wireless Location Appliance, which can track thousands of Wi-Fi clients on a corporate network.

I've written on 802.11 asset tracking before. While it may seem intuitively obvious that a system that uses existing 802.11 access points is better than a system using different tag/receiver technology, that's not necessarily so.