New Cisco Wares Target Home Office Connectivity

802.11n access point

The space, once considered a niche technology play for a minority of employees based in home offices, has gained increasingly greater relevance among networking vendors. Employees are not only working from home, but also use a variety of mobile devices for connectivity and productivity, and want to leverage the benefits of the corporate network.

Cisco's offering, collectively the Cisco OfficeExtend Solution, comprises access points, wireless controllers and software and security updates to support them. New to the solution set as of Monday are the Cisco Aironet 600 Series OfficeExtend Access Points, which support both 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz radio bands, and use separate corporate and personal Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs) to separate personal Internet traffic from work-related traffic, and keep that personal traffic off of corporate controllers. Each AP includes four Ethernet ports to connect IP phones and other networked devices.

Also new is the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Wireless Service Module, which can support up to 500 corporate and "teleworker" access points, and is also scalable to support various types of mobile devices, according to Cisco. The Module includes Cisco's ClearAir technology, which performs interference management, Cisco ClientLink, for client-side performance management, and Cisco VideoStream, for optimizing video connections over the wireless network.

There are new controllers and software for smaller networks, too: the Cisco 2500 Series Wireless Controllers and new software for Cisco's Integrated Services Router G2 Services-Ready Engine (SRE) offer 802.11n connectivity for up to 50 access points and 500 clients.

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Ray Smets, vice president and general manager of Cisco's wireless networking business unit, highlighted the use of mobile devices and cloud services among the drivers for better home office technology.

"The proliferation of smart mobile devices, the adoption of cloud services and even government regulation are all changing the concept of workplace, and many employees have both the expectation and need to work from home," Smets said in a statement.

The Aironet 600 Series OfficeExtend APs list at $419, while the controllers range from $1,195 to $2,495. The Wireless Services Module 2 starts at $29,995. All of the new offerings will be available starting in May, according to Cisco.