Motorola Adds 802.11n Gear To Wireless Vision


The releases, which come from the San Jose, Calif.-based vendor's enterprise mobility business, come months after other wireless players like Cisco Systems, D-Link, Meru Networks and Colubris Networks hit the market with gear that is 11n enabled, but according to Kevin Goulet, senior director of product marketing, Motorola was late to the party on purpose.

"We wanted to do as much as we could with these solutions," he said. "We didn't want to do a 'me too.'"

At its Wireless Innovations Day in Boston, Motorola brass laid out the specifications for two new solutions based on 802.11n, which is currently in draft form and awaiting official ratification.

First, Motorola introduced an 802.11n wireless LAN switch for the midmarket, the RFS6000. The switch supports both Power over Ethernet (PoE) and PoE+, said Sujai Hajela, enterprise WLAN vice president and general manager of Motorola's enterprise mobility business.

Sponsored post

The "network-in-a-box" is based on Wireless Next Generation (Wi-NG) architecture and includes eight high-power PoE ports for 11n; a PCI express slot for wireless WAN backhaul 3G.4G services like EVDO, HSDPA and WiMAX; and a PCI expansion slot for services such as IP PPX. The RFS6000 can support up to 48 802.11 a/b/g/n access points to provide coverage for up to 2,000 users. The switch also eliminates the need to run separate voice and data cables to each enterprise user.

Additionally, the RFS6000 includes integrated security mechanisms, including 802.1x authentication, WPA/WPA2, stateful inspection firewall, VPN, AAA server and NAC support. It also supports network hardware compliance for PCI, HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley out-of-the-box, Hajela said.

Goulet said the RFS6000 offers resilience with mesh, adaptive technology and clustering capabilities. For companies looking to deploy Voice over WLAN the switch can support toll quality VoWLAN with QoS and Wi-Fi Multimedia Extensions for roaming across Layer 3 boundaries both inside and outside.

Motorola also announced the release of its first 802.11n access point, the AP-7131, a tri-radio 11n access point. The three 802.11n radios can support high-speed client access, mesh backhaul and dedicated dual-band IPS. Like the RFS6000 switch, the AP-7131 also features an expansion slot that allows the third radio to be upgraded to enable 3G/4G technology like WiMAX for primary connectivity or redundancy in case the WAN drops out.

The AP-7131 offers 24/7 intrusion protection. The third radio in the access point eliminates the need for a dedicated sensor access point, ultimately reducing the cost of secure wireless deployments. Goulet said a second wireless overlay of sensors is no longer needed, like with single or dual-radio access points.

AP-7131 features a fully Dynamic Frequency Selection-compliant chipset, a fast MIPS network processor with hardware-accelerated encryption and dual Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and can deliver connections speeds of up to 600 Mbps.

Next: More On 11n Additionally, to assist with 802.11n rollouts, Motorola is set to launch the 802.11n edition of its LAN Planner tool later this year. The LAN Planner offers views of 11n AP placements and performance maps. The included Automated Migration Wizard can simplify migration to 11n by giving an overview of mixed network coverage and determining the exact number of 11n access points needed.

Both the AP-7131 access point and the RFS6000 wireless LAN switch will be available next month, Goulet said.

Motorola's adding 11n to its lineup is a sign that the trend toward 11n is going to continue and enterprises and their VARs need to take notice, Goulet said.

"Whether IT administrators like I tor not, N will make its way into the enterprise," he said.

Hajela agreed. "If you look at the wireless enterprise, foremost on their minds are reliability, security and cost," he said, adding that 11n performance is equal to the performance of wired networks. Hajela said companies should also consider 11n now because chipsets have dropped in price; Wi-Fi-enabled cell phone user is on the rise and the sale of notebooks is eclipsing the sale of desktops.

Hajela said a recent study conducted by Motorola found that a greenfield all wireless deployment for a company of 5,000 would cost just over $230,000, while a greenfield wired deployment would run in the neighborhood of $2.8 million. Operating expenses for an all-wireless network run roughly $12.51 per user, compared to $88 per user for a wired network.

"A WLAN is 1/5 to 1/10 the cost of its wired equivalent," Hajela said.

Goulet said it is up to channel partners to get customers on board with 11n, whether through phased approaches or broader deployments. Goulet added that VARs offering 11n can make a strong ROI argument over wireless network upgrades.

"The channel can under bid with an all wireless option," he said. "That is a much better competitive story."

Darrell Alfaro, president of Moonblink Communications, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based wireless solution provider, agreed that Motorola's jump into 11n gives a competitive advantage. Moonblink serves several verticals, including education, service providers and government, Alfaro said, and the ability to offer an end-to-end wireless solution gives him an edge. He said other wireless vendors he's dealt with can't match the end-to-end offerings, despite Motorola joining 11n late in the game.

"First to market isn't necessarily always the best thing," he said.

Alfaro said he's seen increasing interest in 11n, especially in education where higher throughput enables schools to leverage video and more interactive learning tools. He said most start with a phased approach to 11n, launch a pilot and then upgrade the entire network.

"11n offers higher throughput, and people are waiting for it," he said. "It gives our clients better solutions because 11n is going to be easier to deploy, less expensive and easier to manage on their networks."