Extreme Equipment Allows Simple Wi-Fi

The hardware company's WLAN switches and access points allow customers to centrally manage networks.

Networking hardware maker Extreme Networks this week introduced new wireless LAN switches and complementary access points designed for customers who want centrally-managed Wi-Fi networks.

The Summit WM100 is a switch that supports up to 50 access points, while the WM1000 supports up to 200, said officials at Extreme Networks Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif.

The Altitude 350 Access Points are designed to discover the switch automatically, anywhere on the network, at which point the switch configures and provisions the access points, officials said.

Access points in branch or home offices can be configured to bridge traffic locally so that there is no need for a switch at the remote location.

/zimages/5/28571.gifRead details here about WLAN vendors linking switches to third-party access points.

Centrally managed wireless LANs have gained popularity in the past few years among customers who need to support large campuses with limited staff.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read about the WLAN switch protocol from Aruba and Trapeze.

"We started out small with individual access points, but we quickly determined that without a centralized management infrastructure this was going to be a nightmare to maintain," said Hal Marietta, director of network services at Liberty Healthcare Group in Port St. Lucie, Fla., who is looking to upgrade the companys WLAN.

"We are leaning towards thin [access points.] One reason is that in the event of an AP failure, there is nothing to do but replace the faulty unit—no configurations to download or programming to do. That way a level-one support person is all that is needed," Marietta said.

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