Cisco unveils plan for Wlans

Cisco Systems has released details of a framework for managing wireless local area networks (Wlans).

Cisco Systems has released details of a framework for managing wireless local area networks (Wlans).

The framework, called the Structured Wireless-Aware Network, is intended for an integrated wired and wireless network and includes products and upgrades that enable a network administrator to manage wireless Lans centrally, said Shripati Acharya, head of marketing for the wireless networking business unit at Cisco.

"We really want to make managing hundreds of thousands of access points as easy as managing a few access points," Acharya said.

While scalability is one main driving force behind the management and operations framework, security including rogue (or unapproved) access point detection, as well as making wireless Lans as reliable and secure as conventional Lans, are other reasons for the new network plan.

"Rogues are a huge problem," Acharya said. "The new framework will allow for early detection of access point rogues. Through the wireless framework, administrators will have the ability to detect interference, locate it, and [have the] ability to work with it."

Cisco’s plan includes new software upgrades to lay the foundation for a centrally managed network. Starting later this summer it will deploy a series of software upgrades and hardware designs in order to achieve its main objectives, he said.

Upgrades will be made to Cisco’s Aironet 1100 and 1200 series access points, Cisco Catalyst 3750, 4500 and 6500 series switches and Cisco 2600XM and 3700 series routers.

Other components include an upgrade to version 2.0 of CiscoWorks Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE) for management and monitoring, Acharya said, which will support 500 to 2,500 access points.

Cisco’s Structured Wireless-Aware Network capabilities are available as a Cisco IOS Software upgrade for the access points.
In fourth quarter this year, Cisco said it would develop the WLSE further with a version 2.5, and a corresponding Cisco IOS Software upgrade. Version 2.5 will include the rogue detection technology.

For centralised authentication, Cisco’s Secure Access Control Server will be part of the plan, as will Cisco Compatible client adapters for Radio Frequency (RF) monitoring and measurement.

Allison Taylor writes for

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