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Motorola launches 802.11n switch and access point

Pushing ahead despite power questions.

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Motorola has announced a new wireless LAN switch and a new Wi-Fi access point, both designed to support the faster 802.11n draft specification.

The new RFS6000 switch can support up to 48 Ethernet ports to connect to access points. The eight-port version starts at US$2,900 (£1,400), Motorola officials said. The access point, called the AP-7131, is the first on the market with three radios built in, and will sell for $1,199 (£600). Both devices will ship next month.

Motorola joins a growing group of companies supporting the 802.11n specification, which is still in draft form. But it's far enough along for Siemens Networks, Cisco Systems, Trapeze Networks, Aruba, and others to ship devices.

Customers can feel secure that while the final specification for 802.11n might result in a software change, the hardware will not be changed and will not need to be replaced, said Sujai Hajela, general manager of the enterprise wireless LAN unit at Motorola.

Some customers have found that some access points using 802.11n require more power than that provided in the current Power over Ethernet standard (known as 802.3af) and Motorola confirmed that all three radios will not work with that much power output.

However, an emerging 802.3at standard provides for the power needed for all three radios. To reach a receiver at 75 to 100 feet from the access point, power will support only one radio, said Manish Rai, director of product marketing for enterprise wireless LAN.

However, Rai noted that Motorola's 802.11n products offer much faster speeds – as much as four times faster – compared to those provided by 802.11a/b/g radios. And 802.11n works over longer distances.

The new AP and other Motorola wireless point-to-point technologies is being used by one Californian school to connect four school campuses, while two IT managers who have been using Motorola 802.11a/b/g in retail environments said they will evaluate the new 802.11n gear, but have no immediate deployment plans.

One of those managers, Todd Dvorak, from Circuit City Stores in Richmond, Virgina, said Wi-Fi has been a valuable tool in support of wireless tablet laptops carried by sales personnel to look up information for customers. However Circuit City upgraded its networks three years ago to accommodate IBM -based point-of-sale systems.


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