Airwave Wireless yesterday announced version 5.0 of its wireless management software suite that expands its support for Wi-Fi networks to include management for WiMAX and mesh networks, as well as a new “Enterprise Edition” that provides enhanced scalability.

“One of the things we did within the Wi-Fi space is allow you to manage any Wi-Fi applications, from thin access points to thick [intelligent] access points,” Airwave Wireless COO Greg Murphy said in an interview with MRT. “Now, we’ve expanded that to go out to mesh networks, as well as WiMAX networks, in large part because we’ve got a lot of service providers using those technologies.”

But service providers are not the only target customers, as Murphy said the distinctions between carrier-class and enterprise-class networks are becoming almost indistinguishable in some cases. While it is rare to see an enterprise deploy WiMAX, many entities are utilizing mesh technologies, he said.

“We’ve started to see enterprises start to deploy mesh technologies to cover up areas or extend coverage to mobile or temporary facilities … without having to pull wires to those buildings,” Murphy said.

With the latest version of its management software, Airwave’s customers can view and remotely manage characteristics in each of the disparate networks simultaneously, instead of trying to interpret information from a series of proprietary solutions that only deal with a given type of network, Murphy said. With more operators trying to leverage multiple networks from different vendors—systems can include thousands of nodes and tens of thousands of client devices—Airwave believes its suite will prove to be especially valuable.

“What we’re really looking to do is let you drill in instantly and look at what’s going on [in the networks],” Murphy said. “The whole issue is one of visibility. If you know what’s wrong, there’s a lot of ways you can fix it, but you have to be able to see the whole situation first.”

Scheduled to be commercially available during the second week of February, Airwave’s version 5.0 software suite currently manages mesh-networking gear from Cisco, Proxim and Tropos, although support for Motorola’s mesh products is “very much on our radar screen,” Murphy said.