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Bluesocket?s `11n On PoE? Story

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Bluesocket regarding its forthcoming 802.11n Draft 2.0 access point. Although announced back in December 2007, the actual release date of its BSAP-1800 will be sometime in April 2008 and will be submitted to the Wi-Fi Alliance for 802.11n Draft 2.0 certification. This is actually the second access point Bluesocket has produced that incorporates MIMO technology, as its previous generation BSAP-1700 used MIMO technology to deliver increased performance to 802.11a/b/g clients.
In terms of the actual 802.11n technology inside this access point, the WLAN chipsets are produced by Atheros Communications and support 3x3:2 MIMO operations. Following the TxR:S convention; three transmitters, three receivers, and two spatial streams are used to provide raw data rates up to 300 Mbps.

One of the most salient points of Bluesocket's offering is the claimed dual-band full power 11n capability while being sourced with 802.3af power. In order to achieve this feat, Bluesocket states that careful component selection, including radio chipset, processor, and additional software changes facilitate these power reductions. Specific to its radio modules, Bluesocket states that second-generation silicon from Atheros actually requires less power than it had expected -- especially when compared with the first-generation offerings. Along with power savings, Atheros also has incorporated DFS2 (Dynamic Frequency Selection) support allowing full use of the 5-GHz frequency band.

While our labs have not tested this capability firsthand, it's not outlandish considering that similar capabilities are present in offerings from Siemens and Aruba. Given Bluesocket's modest market share in the enterprise WLAN space, the ability to power its dual-band 802.11n access point using a single Ethernet drop is lucrative differentiator. The only caveat we would recommend is to do your own homework and verify a potential vendor's PoE claims in-house on the power injection equipment it will be deployed against.