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Cisco intros Wi-Fi mesh, switch modules

Nov 21, 20052 mins
Cellular NetworksCisco SystemsNetwork Security

* Cisco completes integration with Airespace gear

Cisco joined the ranks of BelAir, FireTide, Motorola, Nortel, Strix, Tropos and others when it belatedly entered the Wi-Fi mesh market last week.

The networking giant also said that it has completed its integration with products from Airespace, which it acquired earlier this year . Resulting from the integration are wireless LAN controller modules for Cisco’s widely deployed Catalyst 6500 switch and Integrated Services Router (ISR) branch-office router product lines. The wireless modules were also announced last week.

On the mesh side, Cisco began offering $4,000 dual-radio access points (AP) for outdoor use in municipal Wi-Fi (“muni Wi-Fi”) and campus applications. According to a Cisco spokesman, its Aironet 1500 Series dedicates an 802.11a radio to AP-to-AP backhaul communications and an 802.11b/g radio to client access. The company says that the dual-radio design allows secure segmentation of the wireless network across user groups, such as police, fire and municipal services.

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption runs between mesh nodes, and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2), WPA and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) authentication and encryption are supported for client authentication and data encryption.

A centralized Wireless Control System (WCS) handles unified wireless management across the newer lightweight APs and Cisco’s traditional stand-alone APs, according to the Cisco spokesman.

Wireless controller modules, due by year-end, were announced for the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series switches and Cisco branch-office ISRs. The Wireless Services Module for the Catalyst 6500 can support up to 300 lightweight APs, and up to five modules can be supported per Catalyst switch, yielding support for 1500 APs in total, explained the spokesman. The new Cisco Wireless LAN Controller module for the ISRs controls up to six APs.