Monday, November 14, 2005

Cisco Unveils its Metro Wireless Mesh Solution

Cisco Systems unveiled its intelligent wireless "mesh" solution for metro-scale deployments.

Cisco mesh solution uses an Adaptive Wireless Path Protocol that enables a remote access point (AP) to dynamically select the best data path among other APs within the mesh coverage area. This provides greater data resiliency to radio frequency (RF) interference, and helps to ensure optimal network capacity. As new access points are added to expand the network, each AP dynamically adjusts data routing schemes for maximum efficiency.

Cisco is introducing a new access point -- the Cisco Aironet 1500 Series -- purpose built for large-scale deployments. The design allows it to be deployed anywhere - rooftops, light posts, power poles -- that has a source of power. The product features a "zero-configuration" deployment capability so it configure itself to operate within a mesh network. This capability allows it to "self-heal" if power should go down or some other interruption occurs. Additionally, the 1500 Series utilizes two radios for maximum data integrity and throughput. With one radio dedicated to AP-to-AP communications, the other radio is free to use all available data channels while minimizing the chances of RF interference. Because of this dual-radio design, the APs can segment the wireless network for different types of user types, such as for police, fire, municipal services, etc. The new 1500 Series provide hardware-based Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption between nodes, and are Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2), (WPA), and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) compliant, which culminates in a hardened, end-to-end Cisco unified wireless architecture.

Cisco's architecture also uses a Wireless Control System (WCS), which provides the scalable management, security, and supporting tools to manage a mesh network. Device configuration, security policies and RF parameters are managed, while traffic statistics, link characteristics and client information are available to network administrators.

HP and IBM are working with Cisco on metro scale deployments.

Cisco also announced several other additions to its wireless networking portfolio, including the Cisco Wireless Service Module (WiSM) for the Catalyst 6500 Series and the Cisco Wireless LAN Controller Module for the Integrated Services Router (ISR) family.

The Cisco Wireless Services Module (WiSM) is a network adapter card that operates within a Catalyst 6500 Series switch. Each Catalyst 6500 series switch with the Wireless Services Module can centrally control and manage up to 1,500 lightweight access points (APs) per chassis, with each module supporting 300 APs. This solution also supports up to 3,600 APs per roaming domain, clustering across modules, non-blocking and high-availability performance, zero-touch AP configuration for large-scale deployments and enhanced wireless LAN intrusion prevention capabilities.

The new Cisco Wireless LAN Controller Module builds upon Cisco's popular Integrated Services Router (ISR) solutions and provides enhanced security features, such as wireless intrusion protection in an easy-to-use module. It supports up to six lightweight APs, and with its zero-touch capabilities, it automatically handles AP configuration, monitoring and management.

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