What's hot at Interop 2008

A summary of new offerings to be introduced at the big network industry conference

  • The Trapeze Mobility Exchange MX-2800 is the vendor's new high-end wireless controller, designed to handle 11n WLANs. It has a switching capacity of 28 Gbps, and can support up to 12,000 active clients on up to 512 access points. You can "virtually" stack these units, up to 64, and manage them in effect as one giganto controller.

  • The Trapeze MP-432 has a two-radio 11n access point, with two Gigabit Ethernet uplinks that support PoE.

  • Talk about an abundance of 11n. The Meru AP440 device packs four 11n radios, two of them can be assigned separate channels in the 2.4GHz, two of them separate channels in the 5GHz band. Meru's architecture lets you in effect layer four separate WLANs atop each other. You can assign each to different groups of users or applications, including radio frequency monitoring for rogues. The addition of a USB port lets you plug in the Wi-Spy spectrum analyzer dongle from MetaGeek. But to run all four radios at full-bore, you'll need extra power from PoE equipment dubbed "PoE plus," a higher-powered alternative to 802.3af, pending the still un-ratified 802.3at standard. The 440 has a hefty price.

  • Array Networks is introducing software called WiFiProtect for its SSL VPN hardware that authenticates users trying to join business networks via Wi-Fi access points and sorts out guests from employee. It assigns different groups to different VLANs and also enables designated employees to directly grant guest status to visitors. The software can be installed on the hardware along with Array's SSL VPN software to create a universal access gateway for businesses.

  • Ruckus ZoneFlex 7942: A one-radio, 2.4GHz 11n access point, the first to feature Ruckus' new wireless mesh software (it can run on existing Ruckus devices, too). Mesh eliminates the need for every access point to have an Ethernet link to the LAN, and it routes traffic around broken connections. The 7942 has the Ruckus smart antenna array, which changes antenna combinations on the fly to maintain the best connection and throughput.

  • Meru 3-D is a new network management application, called Wireless Virtual Reality, will use your floorplan to create a complete 3-D image of the access point locations and coverage at your location. Shown here, the software reveals the location of a red-colored access point outside an office at right; the green "ball" at left shows the envelope of coverage from another access point. You can zoom in and out and navigate through the structure, to see the access points, and how their signals radiate through the building.

  • Aruba AP-124 and 125: You can buy and deploy these as two-radio 802.11abg devices. Later, when you're ready, you pay an additional amount to activate the 11n capability. The 124 has external, detachable, replaceable antennas; the 125 are not removable. Aruba says both 11n radios can run over an existing 802.3af PoE connection.

  • Blade Network Technologies, a supplier of switches to IBM and HP for data center blade server racks, has unveiled two new 1U switches. The G8100 is equipped with 24 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and designed for emerging high-volume 10 GE applications, like aggregation; and the G8000 is equipped with 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports for uplinks or stacking. It is designed for rack-level server connectivity.

  • The Aerohive HiveAP320 is the first 11n access points from this vendor, which offers a WLAN architecture that does away with separate wireless controllers. The 320, one of three new access points, is designed for indoor offices and similar spaces. The other two models are for industrial sites and outdoor deployments. The 320 has two 11n radios, which can run at the same time, one in the 2.4GHz band and one in the 5GHz band. It has 2 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, and the vendor's "SmartPoE" circuitry.

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