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A Branch Office WLAN Switch from Symbol. Brilliant!

But the solutions provided by many of the mainstream WLAN vendors don't
really fit. Most branch offices require more than a single AP (access
point) to provide full coverage. Deploying smart APs like those offered
by Cisco, Proxim and 3Com not only entails significant effort, it also
requires additional products, including Ethernet switches, routers,
firewalls and VPN devices, to meet non-wireless network needs. The
situation is even worse when you are dealing with the new switch vendors
like Airespace, Aruba and Trapeze, which start from the assumption that
switches interface with APs over a Layer-2 Ethernet infrastructure.
Although all these vendors are beginning to address branch-office needs,
none of them excels in that market.

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Symbol's new WS-2000 seems well positioned to meet branch-office needs
as well as those of many small and medium enterprises. A single switch
provides support for WLANs, wired Ethernet LANs and WAN connectivity. Up
to four low-cost, Symbol multi-band thin wireless "access ports" can be
attached to the WS-2000 with full PoE (power over Ethernet) support. The
system includes two additional Fast Ethernet ports (for attachment of
local servers or existing Ethernet network segments), a WAN Ethernet
port (for connection to Frame Relay, DSL or cable modem) and a unique
Flash storage slot that can be used to stage applications or data for
deployment to mobile devices. The unit also provides NAT routing and
stateful inspection firewall capabilities, which most branch offices

The WS-2000 also supports a range of security and management
capabilities. The system is SNMP manageable, clearly a requirement for
organizations with lots of branch locations. Plus, you get support for
key IEEE security protocols, including 802.1x/EAP, WPA and 802.11i,
along with Symbol's Kerberos and Web-authentication capabilities. The
only significant deficiency we could identify is a lack of integrated
VPN support, which Symbol indicated would be delivered in a future

We're anxious to get our hands on one of these systems. Now billing
itself as "The Enterprise Mobility Company," it's clear Symbol remains
committed to enhancing its position as the number-two company after
Cisco in enterprise WLAN market share. Now we're looking forward to a
next-generation headquarters WLAN switch that will better position
Symbol as a total system provider.

-- Dave Molta, [email protected]

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