Foundry Networks his week launched new wireless LAN access points and controllers which can help users concentrate more connections per access point, and stretch WLAN applications beyond simple data access.
With a new location-management offering as well, Foundry says the new gear and software will help companies simplify WLAN deployment and management, and consolidate wireless data access with other services -- such as VoIP and location-tracking -- on a a single 802.11-based infrastructure.
Foundry's IronPort Mobility AP150 access point -- based on technology from Meru Networks -- can support as many as 120 WLAN connections per device, a useful feature for deployments in large public spaces or high-traffic areas. The IronPort Mobility Radio Switch 4000 is an even beefier WLAN access point, with built-in dual 802.11a and 802.11g radios, and support for as many as 256 connections per device. These products, combined with IronPort Wireless Location Manager 2.02 software, let users deploy such services as rogue-access-point detection and location, and WLAN-based employee- or asset-tracking.
The IronPort Mobility AP150 and IronPort Radio Switch 4000 provide multiple-radio coverage and the ability to deploy an entire WLAN with a single 802.11 channel and a single Secure Service Set Identifier network name. Foundry says this simplifies management and configuration for administrators.
The new IronPort gear also supports in-the-air QoS -- where the devices prioritize certain types of radio traffic between the client and the access point. Other WLAN equipment applies QoS settings to data or voice traffic only once packets hit the wired network at the access point, Foundry says.
The IronPort Wireless Location Manager 2.02 software now identifies the location of unauthorized access points (for example, an access point set up by a user in a cube or at a desk), as well as unauthorized WLAN clients in a building or campus. This service can be overlaid on top of an existing Foundry WLAN infrastructure and does not require additional access points dedicated to location-tracking, the company says.
The Meru-based Foundry WLAN gear competes with products such as Cisco's Airespace-based WLAN equipment, as well as gear from Aruba Networks and Trapeze Networks.
"Meru's architecture is superior to any of these other vendors when it comes to supporting applications such as voice over WLAN, and providing wireless in area where user density is high," says Rachna Ahlawat, research director for wireless networking at Gartner. She adds that Foundry's location-based security and asset-tracking capability also "provides enterprises with a more complete" location-based capability.
The IronPort Mobility Radio Switch 4000 costs US$2,100 or US$2,200, depending on whether it is fitted with a 180-degree or 360-degree omnidirectional antenna. The IronPoint Mobility AP150 costs US$525, and the IronPoint Wireless Location Manager 2.02 software costs US$8,000. The products will be available next month.