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Aerohive Adds Wireless Bridging
Point-to-point wireless bridging is often its own specialty, requiring purpose-built components and skills that the average WLAN designer may not have. At Interop New York this fall, this fact was evident at Keith Parsons' excellent wireless bridging session. It was interesting to see a room full of WLAN professionals thirsty for information about this side of their craft.
Much of the wireless bridging battle is selecting an appropriate hardware set from vendors you're likely not all that familiar with to use in point-to-point applications, and then mastering different data rates, modulation types, and latency-related settings as you try to optimize throughput over long distances. It typically requires that you manage your bridges outside your WLAN management console and learn another vendor's approach.
But hardware choices and implementation are getting easier as WLAN vendors include point-to-point bridging in the same hardware that serves clients. With its AP1130 outdoor access point, Aerohive Networks is the latest WLAN vendor to jump on this trend of horning in on turf once reserved for dedicated point-to-point bridging hardware vendors. Ruckus Wireless and Aruba Networks are among other WLAN vendors providing legitimate point-to-point capabilities in their APs.
In its client-serving role, Aerohive's environmentally hardened 2x2 802.11ac AP1130 is nicely equipped as an access point meant to provide wireless access to a raft of mobile users and IoT client devices that require WiFi connectivity outdoors. Aerohive's usual feature set is present, including application visibility, control, built-in RADIUS services, and spectrum analysis. But the point-to-point wireless bridging capability makes the AP particularly interesting.
Capable of linking as far as two kilometers (around 1.25 miles) with highly directional antennas, the AP1130 accepts several power inputs, including AC, PoE, and DC input from solar systems.
Perhaps the most frustrating task in long-distance link work is alignment. Aerohive's LEDs and sound indications streamline this work, so you don't have to be glued to a PC screen while trying to tweak adjustment bolts on a mast-mounted bracket on the edge of a rooftop. And like dedicated bridging options, the AP1130 has latency controls to step down modulation rates as the link needs looser timing to stay stable.
Though the AP1130 and similar products from other WLAN vendors can't yet compete where the longest links are needed or where frequencies other than 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz are desired, these new point-to-point capabilities are a welcome addition to our WLAN product lines. Anything that reduces complexity and accelerates the learning curve is a good thing when it comes to wireless bridging.
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