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Cisco's first 802.11n wireless access point

Cisco's first 802.11n wireless access point

Cisco Systems is diving into the emerging 802.11n wireless market with its first 802.11n-based Ethernet access point (AP), the Aironet 1250, which will offer higher speeds and greater reliability for a wide range of enterprise-ready wireless devices.

In an announcement on Tuesday, Cisco said the new AP is based on the emerging 802.11n Draft 2 standard, which is still a year or more away from being adopted as a final standard.

The move is being made now, according to the company, because some chip makers and laptop hardware manufacturers have been building 802.11n Draft 2 features into their new products, making them ready for use under the new draft standards. "There's lots of momentum behind it," said Ben Gibson, director of mobility solutions at Cisco.

The Aironet 1250, which will be available for sale next month starting at US$1299 each, is the first wireless product to be certified for the 802.11n standard by the Wi-Fi Alliance standards body, which reviews and compiles the standards, according to Gibson.

Cisco also said that upcoming 802.11n access points can be powered over their Ethernet connections, making them much easier to deploy. That's important, Gibson said, because they are often placed in ceilings and other remote locations where an electrical outlet is not available, making their installation more complicated.

The move to the 802.11n wireless standard offers customers a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 300MB/sec. That's up from today's theoretical maximum of 54MB/sec. using the 802.11g wireless standard.

"Customers are looking at the prospect of an exponential increase both of the quantity and diversity of Wi-Fi-enabled devices that are going to be coming into the business market," Gibson said. "These devices will need a higher-speed network with higher reliability; that's going to be the driver. Will this happen overnight? Absolutely not."


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