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Aruba Unveils Enterprise 'Wireless Grid' Architecture

Wireless switch vendor Aruba Wireless Networks Monday unveiled its 'wireless grid' enterprise WLAN architecture that it claims provides the reliability and manageability of wired networks but that will be cheaper to deploy than existing WLANs.

The company said in a statement that its system integrates new types of low-cost wireless products with existing Ethernet network distribution systems. It claimed its new architecture is as significant a breakthrough as the LAN switches and structured cabling systems created a decade ago by Cisco systems.

"The wireless grid architecture represents a similar confluence of high-performance WLAN switches with structured WLAN distribution systems," Don LeBeau, Aurba's president and CEO said in a statement. "It is the first architectural innovation that enables enterprises to move WLANs from a convenience connectivity solution to a mainstream, high-performance mobile networking utility."

The system is managed by a new generation of wireless switches, the company said. Specifically, the company announced its Aruba 5100 switch to manage the system, which it described as a version of its existing 5000 WLAN switch but with twice the capacity. The new switch can process more than 1.8 gigabits of wireless traffic encrypted by 802.11i/AES, the company claimed.

The system also uses low-cost 'grid points' to connect both to the wireless LAN and the wired LAN. One new type of GP is what Aruba claims is the first Wi-Fi wall outlet, which it is developing in conjunction with Ortronics. The device both serves as an access point and connects directly to the wired network, the company said.

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