Cisco Adds More 802.11n
The announcement came as part of a Cisco news assault today that included new application development powers on the ISR line. (See Cisco Pumps Branch Offices and Cisco Opens the ISR.)
Cisco executives chose to make these announcements from the Cisco Partner Summit in Honolulu, probably to show off that they're in Honolulu while we're stuck in places like Colorado, where it's snowing (seriously). On the wireless front, Cisco is trotting out the new 860 and 880 families of the ISR, fixed-configuration boxes equipped with 802.11n radios. "The radio inside the router can now be managed as a lightweight access point," says Joel Conover, a marketing manager in Cisco's network systems group.
Cisco is also adding 3G cellular capabilities to some of its fixed-configuration ISRs. The larger, modular ISRs got their 3G dose last year. (See Cisco Adds 3G.)
Cisco isn't pitching the new boxes as such, but this could be a vehicle to let branch offices approach an all-wireless state, where even data sent out to the network is carried on a wireless link. Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) is openly supporting that setup with its 802.11n gear, and other wireless vendors are noting the possibility as well. (See Moto: Cut the Wires.)
The 860 and 880 Series ISRs have prices from about $450 to $1,300 and are expected to ship in June.
On a side note, Cisco is also giving the ISRs a graphical user interface (GUI) for network configuration, which should be easier to use than the command line interface of the Internetwork Operating System (IOS). Neither Light Reading nor Unstrung has seen the GUI, but we're picturing an adorable backdrop with lots of flowers and fuzzy animals. [Ed. note: We've been wrong before.]
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading