Cisco Extends Wireless LANs to Telecommuters

Cisco Systems Inc. on Monday added a new base station to its line of 802.11b-compliant Aironet wireless LAN products.

Designed to bring wireless Internet connectivity to enterprise telecommuters and small offices, the Aironet 340 Series Base Station features a simplified installation process and a lower price point than Cisco's wireless LAN systems for large enterprise environments.

"This is a lower cost solution to meet needs of the market that is an extension of the enterprise. More important is the ease of use and installation. It is designed for installation where there is no IS manager on site," said Andy Winson, product manager at the San Jose, Calif.-based company.

The base station provides Internet access through any device equipped with an 802.11b wireless PC Card, including cards from competitors, Cisco officials said.

The Aironet 340 Base Station comes in two versions, one including an Ethernet RJ-45 port for connecting to the Internet via a DSL or cable modem connection, and another with an integrated 56Kbps V.90 modem for dial-up connectivity.

Because the base station is targeted at the extended enterprise, Cisco officials said it will include support for 128-bit wired equivalent privacy encryption.

"The importance of security in this environment is equal to the enterprise itself. It needs to be equally manageable, scalable, and secure. Either you control those four wall or you don't," said Winson.

The wireless LAN product launch is part of Cisco's Internet Mobile Office initiative, which was revealed last month. The effort is designed to bring high-speed and secure Internet connectivity to the mobile business professional.

The Aironet 340 Series Base Station will be available in January priced starting at US$399.

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