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Enterprise WLANs: Cisco Delivers the Goods

Cisco's recent WLAN product launch illustrates this point. It was late to market in releasing a multimode "abg" client adapter and 11g support on its enterprise access points. But the company's latest management offering, the Wireless LAN Solution Engine, version 2.5, provides enough new functionality to keep customers loyal and probably attract some new business.

Slap the WLSE appliance on your network, and you can manage faults and configuration for up to 2,500 APs. Cisco's new rogue-detection system takes advantage of both APs and clients for monitoring. Using clients as scanners is a unique and intriguing approach, but what happens when users take clients home at night? The AP-based monitoring leverages the intelligence built into Cisco APs, but it requires that all your APs run IOS--most equipment runs VXWorks--and it works only with 802.11b. You don't suppose someone might install a rogue AP running 802.11a to get around this, do you?

Cisco's assisted site survey technology looks more promising. Unlike systems that use advanced RF modeling, Cisco's approach doesn't abandon the conventional physical site survey, but rather extends it through automated tools. This looks like a pragmatic solution that will save time and improve
system designs.

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