Cisco, Aruba Raise Wireless LAN Stakes

wireless LAN controller platform

The latest addition to Cisco's Unified Wireless Network offering is the Catalyst 3750G Integrated Wireless LAN Controller, which adds built-in management of Cisco's lightweight access points to its Catalyst 3750G stackable Gigabit Ethernet switches. Integrated controllers are already available for its modular Catalyst 6500 core switches.

Solution providers will now be able to target integrated wireless solutions at a variety of customers, including "more midsize businesses, branch offices, and also there is heavy demand from large enterprises looking to distribute WLAN management," said Ben Gibson, director of mobility solutions marketing at Cisco, San Jose, Calif.

The Catalyst 3750G Integrated Wireless LAN Controller is available now in two versions, one that supports up to 25 access points for $20,500 and one that supports up to 50 access points for $25,500.

In addition, Cisco launched Unified Wireless Network Software Release 4.0, adding new support for mobility features, including security, guest access, voice-over-WLAN and location-based services. Solution providers are using such services to make a business case for widespread WLAN deployments, Gibson said.

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Anyware Network Solutions, a Denver-based solution provider, is talking with a health-care client interested in deploying location-based services to wirelessly track IT assets, medical equipment and personnel, said Vince Varga, vice president of engineering. "The customer said they are losing 10 to 20 laptops in any given month, primarily stolen. If they are Wi-Fi-enabled, we can say, 'The last time we saw it was at this exit, and the last person who had it was X,' " Varga said.

Aruba, for its part, debuted the latest version of its ArubaOS Mobility Software. The upgrade adds AAA Fast Connect, a new feature supported on all of its WLAN switches that aims to deliver connection rates 10 times faster than competitive offerings, the company said. The upgrade adds VLAN pooling as well as self-configuration for its mobility controllers that will ease branch office deployments, Aruba said.

In addition, Aruba joined Juniper's J-Partner Solutions Alliances program, a partnership that ensures interoperability between Aruba's wireless wares and Juniper's security portfolio. Aruba also is collaborating with Ruckus on the development of 802.11n products, the forthcoming high-speed wireless standard. The jointly developed products will be available immediately upon ratification of the standard, Aruba said. The finalized standard is expected in July 2007. Aruba, Juniper and Ruckus are all based in Sunnyvale, Calif.