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The Point-to-Point of Wireless Bridging: Page 4 of 19

Wi-LAN AWE 120-58 Ultima3 RD

Wi-LAN is probably best known for its work in the development of OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) technologies for the deployment of non-line-of-sight wireless access systems. The AWE 120-58 wireless bridge we tested uses more traditional DSSS (Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum) technology, and we were impressed with the overall system design. Performance is only in the 8-to-9-Mbps range, but if that's enough to get the job done in your environment, this product should be on your shortlist.

Vendors at a Glance
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The AWE's monitoring and management capabilities were the best of any system we tested. Wi-LAN offers a range of configuration techniques, including a serial console, telnet and an embedded Web server. The AWE was more difficult to install than most of its rivals, but that's largely because of the added functionality it provides. One bridge is configured as a base station, while the other is a remote station. Both the console and Web interfaces provide antenna-alignment capabilities as well as traffic monitors and error counters.

The AWE 120-58 was the only product we tested that includes automatic power adjustment, which lets you optimize distance and minimize interference by automatically adapting to the least amount of power required for operation at a given distance. This feature would be helpful if you were deploying multiple systems in a multipoint star topology. Wi-LAN is also the only vendor to provide transparent VLAN and IP filtering support. The bridges can look at the data from a VLAN trunk link and pick which VLANs should transmit data across the wireless link. Some organizations will find the IP address-filtering capabilities useful as a mechanism for enhancing access to specific hosts and/or subnets from the other end of a wireless link. Not only were we able to filter on specific IP addresses, the product made it easy to filter on ranges of IP addresses. MAC (Media Access Control) address filtering is also supported.