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Cisco Rolls Out 802.11n Access Point

Cisco wants to take 802.11n to the mainstream, and it launched Tuesday a wireless access point that is designed to help businesses become more mobile.

The Aironet 1140 Series Access Point is a dual-radio platform that uses 802.3af Power over Ethernet and the 802.11n Draft 2.0. Cisco said the access point provides higher throughput than previous wireless access points, and it's capable of integrating high-quality voice, video, and rich media across networks.

The access point also takes advantage of a system-wide feature upgrade that it calls M-Drive Technology. At the heart of this is the ClientLink software, which is a beam-forming technology that can improve the throughput of existing 802.11a/g devices. Cisco said this technology can help businesses improve wireless coverage and capacity, and simplify wireless management.

While Cisco does want enterprises to move to 802.11n, executives said economic realities mean companies will also need to maximize existing technology and equipment. The company said M Drive will give it a competitive advantage in that arena, citing an independent test by Miercom that found ClientLink showed an increase of up to 65% in throughput for 802.11a/g devices.

"With the Cisco Aironet 1140 Series Access Point, we significantly enhanced the performance of our wireless network," said Scott Lapham, network engineer at Southeast Alabama Medical Center. "This will support more mobile devices, as well as the next wave of mobility applications like asset tracking and mobilizing our picture archiving and communications system software to view large radiology images where needed."

Even in draft form, 802.11n has the potential to be a game-changer for businesses because it can enable a truly unwired enterprise. But many questions still remain on the complexity of deployment, legacy equipment, and cost. InformationWeek has compiled a report to get businesses ready for 802.11n, and it can be downloaded here.