New Cisco Appliance Locates Wi-Fi Clients


To be unveiled Wednesday at the Interop conference in Las Vegas, the Wireless Location Appliance 2700 tracks the location of up to 1,500 Wi-Fi clients within a company's WLAN network, said Ann Sun, senior manager of wireless mobility solutions at Cisco, San Jose, Calif. The appliance tracks the location of devices accessing the network with Wi-Fi clients as well as those tagged with active RFID stickers.

Brian Gilbert, CEO of NeTeam, a Cisco partner in Akron, Ohio, said the device should gain immediate traction in the health-care field. "Our primary customer base is hospitals, and in a hospital there are expensive assets floating around all the time," Gilbert said. "To give them the ability to track assets such as crash carts and infusion pumps, both to avoid loss and to locate them quickly in an emergency, is very cool. We can't wait to get our hands on this."

Larry Hart, director of strategic accounts at Global CTI Group, a solution provider based in Bakersfield, Calif., agreed. "This is where wireless gets hot."

Health-care institutions will likely be the first adopters of the technology, but there are uses in almost any company, Hart said.

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As a former Airespace partner, Hart had access to an earlier, less-scalable version of the appliance from Airespace, the wireless networking vendor Cisco acquired in March. Global CTI Group deployed the solution for a large Los Angeles law firm that wanted to track audio-visual carts used to tape depositions. "Those carts had more than $20,000 worth of equipment on them and they would sometimes just disappear," he said. "Now the carts set off an alarm before they roll on to the elevator."

Matthew Glenn, product line manager at Cisco, said the 2700 appliance is the first product resulting from Cisco's acquisition of Airespace, which closed in late March.

The appliance is slated to be available in June for $14,995.