WLAN products extend radio and traffic management

Wireless vendors at last week's Interop show unveiled products that let network administrators better handle not only different types of wireless traffic but also different types of wireless connections.

Wireless vendors at last week's Interop show unveiled products that let network administrators better handle not only different types of wireless traffic but also different types of wireless connections (complete Interop coverage).

Symbol, for example, has rewritten its wireless switch operating system and network management application, so that administrators can configure, monitor and manage the radio frequencies used by 802.11 and RFID networks, and the wireless clients on them. Symbol plans to add code for WiMAX, Zigbee and cellular frequencies, says Chris McGugan, senior director for Symbol's wireless infrastructure division.

The new software architecture, dubbed Wireless Next Generation, will let administrators optimize RFID connections and information flow from tag readers to application servers on the back end.

The software is scheduled to be released for Symbol's 5100 wireless switch in September and will support Layer 3 roaming for the first time. That means users on a wireless VoIP call can roam from subnet to subnet without interrupting the call to reconnect and reauthenticate.

By year-end, Symbol plans to introduce a new switch, the first designed to implement the new software. The switch will include a separate Intel CPU to run a battery of applications locally, such as voice call server, or a program to process RFID tag data. The switch will handle up to 250 of Symbol's companion access points, compared with 48 today, and over 2Gbps of encrypted wireless traffic. Pricing will be announced later.

While Symbol was bolstering its products, AirMagnet introduced the Vo-Fi Analyzer, new laptop software designed to monitor voice packets over a wireless LAN.

The program includes about 20 new alarms to report such things as choppy audio, roaming delays and dropped calls. It covers the client device, network connections, QoS settings and call manager program. It also collects data, and runs a series of real-time statistical analyses to monitor voice calls and identify problems. It can separate voice from data traffic and check out the links between devices and the access point.

Vo-Fi Analyzer is expected to be available next July, starting at $15,000.

AirMagnet announced with Aruba Wireless Networks a WLAN analyzer program that runs on Aruba's WLAN switches to monitor and manage radio frequency performance.

Firetide, which builds radio nodes to create wireless mesh for indoor and outdoor coverage, introduced its first wireless access point, the HotPoint AP.

The nodes create an 802.11-based mesh for backhauling traffic to gateway nodes that are connected to the LAN. The nodes have two or four Ethernet ports for such devices as wireless video cameras and third-party access points. The HotPoint AP is an 802.11b/g device that can replace those access points. One model is for indoor use, a second in a weatherproof case for outdoor use.

The access point radio runs at 400 milliwatts to boost the reach of connections to clients. At least 64 clients can associate to each access point, which in turn can divide them among 16 ESSIDs, in effect, 16 separate virtual access points. The HotPoint AP is scheduled to ship June 30. Pricing is not final, but will be less than $1,000, according to the company.

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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