Airespace Branches Out With WLAN Switch

The new Airespace 3500 WLAN controller creates opportunities for solution providers to target customers in retail and distributed enterprises with facilities smaller than 60,000 square feet, said Jeff Aaron, senior manager of product marketing at Airespace, San Jose, Calif.

"It's for smaller spaces but not necessarily the SMB market. It's for retail stores, warehouses, where they need intrusion detection and QoS, where they're doing voice [over WLAN]," Aaron said.

The new Airespace 3500 will also appeal to government customers such as the Army or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which are seeking to outfit small tactical field units with wireless networking, said Bronson Meredith, director of business development at ABEO, a Herndon, Va.-based solution provider that focuses on the federal market.

The Airespace 3500 switch supports the vendor's thin WLAN architecture, which centralizes network intelligence on a WLAN switch paired with stripped-down access points instead of building the intelligence into stand-alone access points.

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The smaller form factor supports up to six access points and the latest version of the vendor's AireOS embedded operating system, which adds realtime radio frequency (RF) management capabilities that provide proactive access point load balancing and can dynamically detect and avoid interference.

The new AireOS capabilities enable Airespace WLANs to react to subtle changes in the RF environment that can have dramatic impacts on service quality, said Lem Putnam, director of sales at Communication Specialists Inc. (CSI), a solution provider in Woodinville, Wash.

"If you move a filing cabinet it changes the RF environment, and Airspace's products are able to adjust to that on the fly," Putnam said.

AireOS also provides realtime intrusion prevention as well as QoS features that include traffic shaping and dynamic bandwidth provisioning. The Airespace 3500 is available this month starting at $2,000.