Special Coverage Series

Network Computing

Special Coverage Series

Commentary

Lee H. Badman
Lee H. Badman Network Computing Blogger

Motorola Launches 802.11ac APs

Motorola joins a growing number of enterprise WLAN players with early 802.11ac products. Here's how its new APs stack up.

Though the 802.11ac wireless standard is not yet official, some vendors are bringing pre-standard consumer and enterprise products to market. As per the IEEE's latest timeline, we should expect 11ac to be ratified in November. This close to the finish line, it's not unusual to see WLAN vendors crossing early.

Motorola is one of those early arrivals. The company announced a set of 802.11ac APs last week at Interop in Las Vegas. I caught up with Motorola at the conference for a briefing. Motorola aims for the same 11ac-related targets as Cisco, Aerohive and other vendors, but its new products have a couple of unique twists.

More Insights

Webcasts

More >>

White Papers

More >>

Reports

More >>

Motorola announced three new 11ac access points: the AP 8232, AP 8222 and AP 8263. They're designed for different spaces, from office settings where aesthetics count to outdoor mesh applications.

The 8232 is the most interesting of the bunch. Like Cisco's 3600 AP, the Motorola 8232 accommodates optional modules, including wireless intrusion prevention (WIPS), but that's where the similarity ends. For instance, Cisco offers an LTE-extension module, but it requires specialized back-end mobile carrier integration to be useful. By contrast, Motorola offers a backhaul-enhancing module that lets an AP use the mobile carrier network for WAN connectivity back to the corporate network.

Another unique module targets industrial, retail and hospital customers. The 8232 has an environmental sensing module that can actually control WLAN functions. Consider this scenario: A retail chain has AP radios turn off after stores close. But during a big sale with extended hours, the environmental sensor sees that lights are on outside of normal hours, and keeps the WLAN up until the lights go out. There are a lot of use cases for environments that can't rely on manual intervention for every operational change.

Motorola has also bumped up its WiNG code to 5.5. Like most enterprise WLAN players, Moto is big on application optimization; with WiNG 5.5 the focus seems to be video delivery. App acceleration and content caching options mean WiNG 5.5 can act as an Akamai-style mini-service, where companies can push their own frequently used video without needing to expand WAN links. By contrast, companies such as Cisco key in on specific apps and prioritize traffic based on policy. They're different ways of getting the same results.

Motorola also updated me on the company's AirDefense suite. I thought AirDefense was an RF security overlay, but it has been revised with each new WLAN version, and provides roughly the same "support" functionality for WiNG 5.5 as does Cisco's Mobility Services Engine (MSE) and the client-specific troubleshooting tools in Cisco's Prime Infrastructure.

While Cisco is the big dog in enterprise wireless, Motorola beats Cisco hands down in "virtual client" functionality, in which an AP can act a client and exercise key system functions on nearby APs. (I've been asking Cisco for this feature for years.)

The big question for enterprise customers is whether to adopt 802.11ac in the near term or wait for the so-called Wave 2 enhancements, which will further improve the performance and throughput of 11ac devices but won't be available for a year or more. If you've got a solid 11n environment today, it might make sense to wait. As you can guess, Motorola disagrees. The company argues that its 11ac products are cost-effective and have a compelling feature set that will spur migration. If you're looking for early 11ac products, Motorola is worth a look.



Related Reading



Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

 
Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
 

Editor's Choice

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Buying power and influence are rapidly shifting to service providers. Where does that leave enterprise IT? Not at the cutting edge, thatís for sure: Only 19% are increasing both the number and capability of servers, budgets are level or down for 60% and just 12% are using new micro technology.
Get full survey results now! »

Vendor Turf Wars

Vendor Turf Wars

The enterprise tech market used to be an orderly place, where vendors had clearly defined markets. No more. Driven both by increasing complexity and Wall Street demands for growth, big vendors are duking it out for primacy -- and refusing to work together for IT's benefit. Must we now pick a side, or is neutrality an option?
Get the Digital Issue »

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps


Software defined networking encompasses several emerging technologies that bring programmable interfaces to data center networks and promise to make networks more observable and automated, as well as better suited to the specific needs of large virtualized data centers. Attend this webcast to learn the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging.
Register Today »

Related Content

From Our Sponsor

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

Business executives are challenging their IT staffs to convert data centers from cost centers into producers of business value. Data centers can make a significant impact to the bottom line by enabling the business to respond more quickly to market demands. This paper demonstrates, through a series of examples, how data center infrastructure management software tools can simplify operational processes, cut costs, and speed up information delivery.

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Both hot-air and cold-air containment can improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. While both approaches minimize the mixing of hot and cold air, there are practical differences in implementation and operation that have significant consequences on work environment conditions, PUE, and economizer mode hours. The choice of hot-aisle containment over cold-aisle containment can save 43% in annual cooling system energy cost, corresponding to a 15% reduction in annualized PUE. This paper examines both methodologies and highlights the reasons why hot-aisle containment emerges as the preferred best practice for new data centers.

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Traditional methodologies for monitoring the data center environment are no longer sufficient. With technologies such as blade servers driving up cooling demands and regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley driving up data security requirements, the physical environment in the data center must be watched more closely. While well understood protocols exist for monitoring physical devices such as UPS systems, computer room air conditioners, and fire suppression systems, there is a class of distributed monitoring points that is often ignored. This paper describes this class of threats, suggests approaches to deploying monitoring devices, and provides best practices in leveraging the collected data to reduce downtime.

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Rack power of 10 kW per rack or more can result from the deployment of high density information technology equipment such as blade servers. This creates difficult cooling challenges in a data center environment where the industry average rack power consumption is under 2 kW. Five strategies for deploying ultra-high power racks are described, covering practical solutions for both new and existing data centers.

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

High density IT equipment stresses the power density capability of modern data centers. Installation and unmanaged proliferation of this equipment can lead to unexpected problems with power and cooling infrastructure including overheating, overloads, and loss of redundancy. The ability to measure and predict power and cooling capability at the rack enclosure level is required to ensure predictable performance and optimize use of the physical infrastructure resource. This paper describes the principles for achieving power and cooling capacity management.