Cisco is targeting the large and growing telework or telecommute market with a set of products intended to extend the enterprise wireless network from the office to the home. By 2016, 43 percent of U.S. Information workers will work from home at least some of the time, according to Forrester, up from 40 percent today.
The proliferation of smart mobile devices, the adoption of cloud services and even government regulation are all changing the concept of workplace, and many employees have both the expectation and need to work from home, says Cisco. Its OfficeExtend solution, which includes new access points and wireless controllers scheduled to ship in May, addresses the need for organizations to provide simple, secure wireless access to company resources at home or in the office.
Consisting of the Aironet 600 Series OfficeExtend Access Points, wireless controllers and the Wireless Control System, OfficeExtend features an 802.11n dual-radio design that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands. The company says that by providing separate corporate and personal Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs), the 600 Series access points segment private traffic from corporate traffic, allowing personal traffic, such as in the home, to be directed to the Internet rather than to corporate controllers.
The new Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Wireless Services Module chassis supports up to 500 corporate and teleworking access points, and the 2500 Series Wireless Controllers and software for the Cisco ISR G2 Services-Ready Engine offer 802.11n service for up to 50 access points and 500 clients.
Earlier this month, Cisco arch-rival HP announced its Mobile Access Solution, the industry's first access points that transmit three data streams per wireless radio as opposed to two, and that can support up to 50 percent more mobile devices than existing technology. While that was a significant announcement, says IDC's Rohit Mehra, director, enterprise communications infrastructure, Cisco's Teleworker solution addresses the needs of remote workers by providing a simple and easy-to-setup solution for network access from the home, while letting IT extend control to the edge of the network. "IT wants this kind of a solution so it can manage, control and secure the edge of its network."