Cisco Steps Up WLAN Presence

Announces 1240AG, adds LWAPP support.

Cisco systems inc. last week launched a new wireless access point for corporate customers.

The Aironet 1240AG Series Access Point is a dual-band device designed for environments where RF (radio frequency) interference tends to be problematic, such as factory floors and warehouses, said officials at the San Jose, Calif., company. It supports both the 802.11a and 802.11g WLAN (wireless LAN) standards, meaning it can operate in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands.

An upgrade to the 1230AG Series, the 1240AG bests its predecessor with an integrated radio rather than modular radios. In addition, the 1240AG supports POE (power over Ethernet).

The device can work in an autonomous mode or in a "lightweight" mode, in conjunction with a centrally managed WLAN switch.

The 1240AG is priced at $899, which is $100 less than the list price of the 1230AG.

As expected, Cisco has added support for LWAPP (Lightweight Access Point Protocol) to its 1130AG, 1230AG and 1240AG Aironet access points following its acquisition of WLAN switch maker Airespace Inc. in January. The support is available via an upgrade to Ciscos IOS (Internetwork Operating System) software. This is a boon for veteran Cisco customers who plan to migrate to a centrally managed wireless architecture and want to keep their existing access points—although many are opting for a complete overhaul, access points and all.

"This fall, were moving our entire enterprise to Ciscos Airespace product line," said John Halamka, CIO of Harvard Medical School and CareGroup Healthcare System, a Boston-area hospital group. "Were doing a complete swap-out that avoids having to manage a hybrid environment."

Authored initially by Airespace and NTT DoCoMo Inc. but never adopted as an industry standard, LWAPP is meant to allow communication between access points and WLAN switches, routers and appliances.