Wi-Fi Planet expo highlights multichannel access points

This week’s Wi-Fi Planet Conference and Expo will highlight the increasing variety and sophistication of WLan technology for the...

This week’s Wi-Fi Planet Conference and Expo will highlight the increasing variety and sophistication of WLan technology for the enterprise.
Products will range from AirMagnet’s multifunction APs and InterDigital Communications’ client cards with steerable antennas, to VeriWave’s test equipment for VoIP installations and Sesame Networks’ software to monitor guests on the WLan.

AirMagnet, a Wi-Fi management and security software supplier, will unveil a prototype multifunction AP that includes AirMagnet intrusion detection and DoS attack software. Until now, AirMagnet sold sensors that included its software as a standalone hardware/software solution.

The AP, built by Engim, is a reference design for APs that includes three radios on a single chip set and will be sold to ODMs (original design manufacturers) and OEMs.

“One of the radios can be a sensor. You can hang one device in your ceiling and get two APs plus a full-time dedicated sensor,” said Rich Mironov, vice-president of marketing at AirMagnet.

The three-in-one chip set can also replace three APs, each set to a different channel without one interfering with the other, Mironov said. Tentative pricing will be about half of the cost of three APs bought separately. First products are expected to ship in the first quarter of 2005.

Also expected at the conference, InterDigital Communications will announce its entrance into the Wi-Fi market with a solution called AIM (Adaptive Interference Management). AIM monitors and reacts to interference using a unique antenna technology, said Brett Attebery, product marketing manager at InterDigital.

Typically, a Wi-Fi antenna generates multiple beams to receive data in omnidirectional patterns. What InterDigital has developed is an antenna that uses two steerable beams and one omnidirectional beam in order to find and lock on to the strongest signal.

As a client device enters a location and creates interference for other devices, an AIM-enabled device goes into scan mode and corrects the antenna direction. It is expected that ODMs and OEMs will integrate AIM into their designs by the first half of 2005, Attebery said.

Even before an AP is hung on the wall, however, test equipment is needed to determine where best to locate APs. This is the job of Traffic Generator, a test device from VeriWave to be unveiled at the show.

Traffic Generator verifies the quality and performance of devices used in Wi-Fi networks by emulating traffic then capturing and receiving data from test devices to analyse it.

While many companies are in the midst of deploying Wi-Fi on corporate campuses, those enterprises with existing WLan networks are taking their installations to the next level by adding guest services, said David Hayden, principal at MobileWeek.

“Guest services allow a company to add value to its network by giving visitors attending a meeting on campus access to a secure portion of the WLan,” Hayden said.

Sesame Networks, one of the major providers of secure guest service software, will announce a North American Channel programme to resell its SesameSpots through the VAR channel.

SesameSpots requires guests to plug in their mobile phone number before the system sends back an SMS text message with a temporary pass code. The phone number allows network administrators to monitor individual guest behavior and terminate a session at their discretion.

Ephraim Schwartz writes for Infoworld

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