WLAN product blitz shows 802.11n more affordable, useable

New 802.11n products on tap from AirMagnet, D-Link, Enterasys, Meraki and Motorola’s AirDefense unit

A slew of new WLAN hardware and software suggests that 802.11n high-throughput WLANs are fast becoming more affordable and manageable across all industry segments.

Enterasys debuted its first 802.11n access point and a new high-end WLAN controller for large-scale deployments, while D-Link has a new US$180 11n AP aimed at small and midsize businesses. Meraki introduced its first 11n product for municipal and multi-tenant Wi-Fi hot zones.

On the software side, Motorola's AirDefense unit has added a WLAN troubleshooting application to its flagship wireless intrusion prevention suite, and radio frequency (RF) monitoring and configuration management to its WLAN controller software. Rival AirMagnet has created a version of its RF analysis and site survey applications and introduced a simplified troubleshooting tool, both aimed at improving WLAN performance and management for SMB customers.

Low-priced 11n hardware

Enterasys, which is part of Siemens Enterprise Communications, has announced the two-radio HiPath Wireless 802.11n access point, the first from the company. It supports two spatial streams over a 3x3 antenna configuration with a data rate of 300Mbps for each radio. It can run both radios, one in the 2.4 GHz band and one in 5 GHz, at full capacity over an existing 802.3af PoE infrastructure.

Enterasys is being very aggressive on pricing. Though it has a list price of US$995 (which even at that is less than a number of enterprise market rivals) the new access point comes with a "limited time" pricing of just US$665. That's about US$150 more than the company's existing 802.11abg product. It's available now.

The new HiPath C5110 wireless controller will support up to 1,000 access points, compared to 128 for the previous top-of-the-line controller, and up to almost 8,200 users. The C5110 is the first of the family to support gigabit Ethernet; there are 2 such ports. It supports all the usual enterprise-grade security protocols and standards. It comes with built-in integration with Enterasys' HiPath Wireless Manager application for WLANs, the Dragon intrusion protection system, the NetSight network management suite, and the company's network access control system.

The C5110 will ship no later June, available worldwide, with a list price of US$31,995.

With it will come the new controller software update, version 6.0, reworked in part to handle the much larger WLANs possible with the new C5110. Customers that have the older line of Enterasys RoamAbout access points can download the corresponding software to the RoamAbout products, allowing them to be seen and managed by HiPath controllers.

D-Link's newly announced Selectable Dual-Band Access Point, the DAP-2553, is even less expensive, with a price tag of just US$180. It achieves that in part because it's a single radio device: You can set it to operate in either of the two frequency bands. It also runs with existing 802.3af PoE systems.

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