WLAN product blitz shows 802.11n more affordable, useable

WLAN product blitz shows 802.11n more affordable, useable

New 802.11n products on tap from AirMagnet, D-Link, Enterasys, Meraki and Motorola’s AirDefense unit

The new application lets administrators automatically monitor and test wireless connectivity, aided by being able to now activate a sensor to behave as if it were a wireless client. A Web-based dashboard is designed for use by help desk staff, enabling them to quickly run analyses and report on problems, or on trends that could lead to problems, without having to be WLAN experts.

The Advanced Troubleshooting application is available now, priced at $295 per sensor.

Smart RF, running on the Motorola controllers, automates the work of adjusting channels and power levels on access points. That means the network itself can adapt to changing radio conditions to optimize performance for users. For example, by reducing power levels in some access points, Smart RF can reduce interference, improving throughput for users, or preventing excessive "thrashing" by clients shifting between access points that are too close together.

AirMagnet -- which ranked high in our recent Clear Choice Tests of WLAN management tool -- has released a simplified product suite, called AirMagnet Express, with "lightweight" versions of its AirMagnet Analyzer and AirMagnet Survey tools that are designed for the SMB market. The tools provide a set of basic WLAN and radio management and security functions.

Analyzer monitors wireless packets and reports on security and performance problems. Survey is used to map signal strength and radio interference. The Express versions strip out a number of features that are more suited to high-end enterprise networks, according to AirMagnet. The new suite lacks advanced intrusion detection features and alarms, for example. With Express Analyzer, AirMagnet added a new "how-to" section, an online library of the most common WLAN tasks and problems, along with a step-by-step guide to walk users through problem analysis and solution.

Each application is priced at US$1,195 or US$3,500 for both together. They're available now.

A brand-new application is AirMedic, a simplified spectrum analyzer for fast, basic analysis of radio behaviors. The software, developed with Intel, runs on a laptop with a Centrino 2 wireless adapter, converting it into a spectrum analyzer for scanning WLAN radio activity on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. It can display plots that show RF energy emissions, along with corresponding access point channel assignments and signal strength. The displays can show RF interference, high error rates, and so on, helping users to distinguish between radio problems and Wi-Fi configuration problems.

AirMedic is available now, priced at US$995.

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