Cisco Upgrades WLAN Potrfolio with 802.11n AP

VARs now have another flavor of Wi-Fi and VoWiFi to offer businesses; Cisco Systems Inc. has launched the first Wi-Fi certified 802.11n draft 2.0 access point to hit the market, part of a new integrated 802.11n WLAN offering.

The 802.11n version of Wi-Fi offers a fivefold increase in throughput and uses multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) technology to help ensure high reliability of wireless coverage, particularly for challenging RF environments including those found in health care, education, warehousing, logistics and manufacturing. It is also optimized for VoIP. Cisco’s wireless-specialized partners can provide the hardware along with technical services and design expertise for customers to help them work through the design and development for 802.11n.

The Unified Wireless Network release 4.2 includes the Cisco Aironet 1250-series access point for enterprises, a 48gbps Cisco Catalyst 6500-based WLAN controller, and wired/wireless services. Users can power the dual-radio APs from a single Ethernet port. The portfolio also maintains compatibility with current wireless standards like 802.11a/b/g, without requiring a redesign of network infrastructure, the company said.

Cisco said that extensive 802.11n draft 2.0 joint interoperability testing was conducted with Cisco’s partner Intel Corp. at the Intel Oregon testing facility, which is set up to simulate a typical enterprise environment.

“Ensuring compatibility and performance are foremost in the adoption of next-generation wireless technologies,” said Randy Nickel, director of wireless marketing for Intels mobile platforms group. “Cisco and Intel have worked together closely to ensure that adoption of 802.11n technologies is as seamless as possible for enterprise customers.”

By late 2007 Cisco expects to enable auto-negotiating, single-port power for the Aironet 1250 AP on switches across the Catalyst portfolio, eliminating the need to run an additional cabling drop or insert a separate power injector.

The vendor also announced that Duke University is a first customer for the 802.11n portfolio. The universitys chief information officer, Tracy Futhey, Cisco and Duke engineers have been working together to configure the wireless network in a residence hall to ensure proper interoperability, performance and design.

“Universities provide a unique role as a microcosm for the broader society: a realistic yet controlled testing ground,” Futhey said. “We have people who work here, live here, play here and visit here. They use the Duke wireless network for diverse applications such as video, streaming media and other data-intensive technologies. Our early experience with Cisco’s 802.11n technology has been that it can reliably deliver the wireless bandwidth our highly mobile population requires.”

Cisco Systems Inc.

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