Cisco ships new 802.11n AP to resolve power issue

New AP also has sleeker design, easier management

The growth of 802.11n wireless LAN access points has been somewhat limited by a well-known problem with insufficient power to APs when using Power-over-Ethernet connections.

Some companies have gone ahead with the faster 802.11n installations anyway, although they have had to string extra power cables to the 802.11n APs to give them sufficient power to run all the radios inside the APs.

Today, Cisco Systems is addressing the problem head-on by announcing a new Aironet 1140 Series Access Point that works with standard PoE. It also comes in a sleeker design for executive office settings and uses M-Drive Technology, which helps simplify wireless management and improve coverage.

The new AP is available now for US$1,299, officials said.

Ben Gibson, Cisco's senior director of mobility solutions, said the new APs would help "trigger widespread Wi-Fi deployments." Noting that Cisco has had 802.11n products on the market for more than a year, he called them "early adopter" solutions.

"Up to now, it was a compromise with Power over Ethernet, and power was not sufficient [to fully run the APs] or companies had to deploy them with [added] power," Gibson said. "A lot of people want 802.11n, but people were waiting to see if it would work with existing infrastructure."

Gibson called the new 1140 Series the "first to market with full capacity and full performance with Power-over-Ethernet power."

Two Cisco customers said they are deploying or planning to deploy the 1140s after using older 802.11n APs. Erik Parker, senior wireless infrastructure engineer at Toyota Motor Sales USA, said power injectors had been needed for the older, 1252 series APs at Toyota. With the new APs, "we will not widely deploy power injectors," he said.

With 802.11n, wireless speeds will be fast enough that Toyota is considering allowing some desktops and mobile devices to go 100 percent wireless, Parker said. In all, Toyota installed about 2,400 older APs at various offices last year and plans to install 1140s in 60 locations, with potentially another 500 by the end of the year.

Scott Lapham, network engineer at Southeast Alabama Medical Center, said the center has 500 older APs, and that moving to the 1140 should provide a "very smooth transition" since it will work well with the 802.3af PoE available throughout the facility." Lapham said he plans to deploy them, pending budget approval.

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