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Carrier WiFi

New Directions in WiFi

The latest products from business WiFi vendors new and old are incorporating more technology and techniques usually found outside the office, such as cellular and mesh networking connectivity.

That's clear from a slew of products announced today by Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN), Meru Networks Inc. , relative newcomer Ruckus Wireless Inc. , and newer newcomer Aerohive Networks Inc.

Aruba, for instance, has new Mobile Remote Access Point (RAP) software that can allow one of its AP-70 access points to act as a cellular link for remote office connectivity or provide users with wide-area-connectivity.AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), and Verizon Wireless , says Michael Tennefoss, head of strategic marketing. The gizmo is aimed at first responder and branch office applications.

Aruba is also working with various university labs on developing other applications for the USB ports, although it isn't saying exactly what yet. "They have to be passed by the office of the CTO," explains Tennefoss.

Meru, meanwhile, is going after the speed-racer side of the next-generation WiFi market with a four-radio 802.11n AP that it claims as a "gigabit Ethernet" unit. Each of the new AP440's 802.11n-compliant radios supports access at up to 300 Mbit/s for 1.2 Gbit/s capacity, Aruba's smaller rival claims. (see Meru Intros Quad AP.)

Ruckus is trying to carry over some of its WiFi/IPTV smarts into meshed proto-802.11n applications for the enterprise. The firm says it can create a cleaner signal path for 802.11n with its "beamforming" technology and cut down on the number of APs required through meshed connectivity.

David Callisch, Ruckus's director of marketing, says the additional power and channel-bonding capabilities of 802.11n can result in more interference. The signal-steering tech helps the faster WiFi to switch channels and dodge interference.

And finally there's Aerohive, which launched its HiveAP access points today. The trick there is "cooperative control," a technology Aerohive says helps remove controllers from the network without giving up resilience. (See Aerohive Launches APs.)

Notice that all four firms are now happily working with 802.11n. The official ratification of the standard is still likely more than a year away, however.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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