Cisco Systems Inc. on Monday introduced a card that adds IEEE 802.11b and 802.11g WLAN (Wi-Fi) support to its 3200 Series routers.
"This solution set [targets] outdoor wireless broadband for the public sector," said Ann Sun, senior manager for Wireless and Mobility at Cisco, in San Jose, Calif.
The routers now can support wireless LAN and WAN connections, Sun said. When used in public-safety vehicles, devices attached to the router will be able to maintain wireless network connections, even when a vehicle is moving between cellular and Wi-Fi coverage areas. The router also can provide long-range outdoor Wi-Fi coverage. Cisco officials said the router may be upgraded to support the nascent WiMax wireless broadband standard but not until its clear the industry will adopt it.
The Department of Homeland Security has allocated more than $2 billion for local and state governments to improve their public-safety infrastructures in the next two years.
Cook County, Ill., and Chicago, for example, each received $34 million and used part of that allotment toward routers used in conjunction with wireless bridges from Cisco for public-safety applications such as video surveillance. Initially, 90 municipal vehicles will be equipped with the routers to connect to access points throughout the county, but the plan is to increase the number of vehicles as funding increases.
"Police officers need up-to-date information at their fingertips," said Cathy Maras OLeary, Cook County CIO, in Chicago. "Now theyll be able to access this information, which is sitting in databases anyway."
To further the adoption of such metropolitan networks, Cisco is teaming with systems integrators, including IBM and Northrop Grumman Corp., to deploy the systems, Sun said.
The Cisco 3200 Series Wireless and Mobile Router with the WLAN interface card is available now. Pricing starts at $3,650. WLAN outdoor bridges range in price from $1,299 to $1,499.
Adding WLAN capabilities to existing products is a recent trend at Cisco. Last month the company introduced the Wireless LAN Services Module, a blade that adds Layer 3 WLAN roaming capabilities to the companys high-end Catalyst 6500 line of switches.
Editors Note: This story was updated to include additional information about customer deployments.