Proxim Introduces Wireless LAN Solutions For SMBs

By Patricia Fusco | Posted February 12, 2003
Proxim unleashed the latest additions to its ORiNOCO lineup of wireless local area network (WLAN) products this week. Designed for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that desire to support 50 to 250 wireless users, the new AP-600b retails for $395 and supports 802.11b wireless access, while the AP-600a retails for $549 and supports faster 802.11a connections. Both wireless access points (WAPs) are available for shipping immediately.

As part of its SMB offering, Proxim also announced that the new ORiNOCO 802.11g Gold CardBus Card and an 802.11g Access Point upgrade kit will be available in several weeks. Priced at $495 the AP-600g will support 802.11a/b/g-based wireless connections. The 802.11g upgrade kit will cost $129 for existing AP-600b users that are willing to swap out an internal mini-personal computer interface (PCI) card from the AP-600b.

Angela Champness, senior vice-president and general manager of Proxim's LAN Division, said the AP-600 family is unique because it offers robust security and a streamlined management system all at SMB-friendly prices.

"Our research shows that SMBs are eager to deploy WLANs, but until now have had to settle for low-performance, low-quality products," Champness said. "Our AP-600 provides the high performance and security that SMBs require, at attractive price points."

The AP-600 provides support for industry-standard security technologies, assuring SMBs that their networks are as secure as wired networks. In addition to standard Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption, the AP-600 provides 802.1x-based WLAN security with auto key management. Additional security tactics include 802.1x per-user, per-session encryption keying for the 802.11a and g products, as well as support for a broad range of Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) types.

But SMBs also require robust yet simple management. The AP-600 can be managed using a standard Web browser that will allow configuration and monitoring of the access point. Full Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) support is provided, including standard and extended Management Information Bases MIBs) and traps, making it possible to manage the AP-600 with standard SNMP tools.

The AP-600 ships with an upgradeable mini-PCI radio that can be replaced using the ORiNOCO AP-600 11g Upgrade Kit. To make upgrading even more attractive, the AP-600b includes a $25 rebate coupon good toward purchasing the AP-600 802.11g Upgrade Kit, making the additional cost for 802.11g no higher than purchasing an AP-600g. Additionally, the AP-600a is upgradeable to future 802.11a revisions, such as support for 802.11i.

The AP-600 series includes hardware features that have previously been found only in enterprise-class WAPs. These include 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE) support and a wide range of mounting options. The unit's internal antennas give the devices a compact appearance, while external antenna connectors (for 802.11b and 802.11g versions) provide support for range extender options.

As part of its total 802.11g solution, Proxim will provide the ORiNOCO 11g Gold Cardbus Card. This client card will allow PC notebooks to have high-speed access to any 802.11g network and provide backward compatibility to 802.11b. The ORiNOCO 11g Gold Cardbus card provides the same high quality and robust functionality of the Proxim ORiNOCO 802.11b and a/b client cards. This includes 802.1x support, a comprehensive configuration tool, and an integrated diversity antenna.

Additionally, the popular ORiNOCO 11b Gold and Silver Card prices have been reduced by up to 40 percent. This price move, made possible in part by lower manufacturing costs, is another way Proxim is keeping pricing down for small business wireless deployments.

Research analysts at In-Stat/MDR expect that by the end of this year more than 3 million firms will connect employees to LANs via wireless systems. This dramatic growth will be the result of increased adoption of WLAN technology in the small business and small office, home office (SOHO) markets. With Proxim's release of the ORiNOCO AP-600 family of products, adding wireless connectivity to a LAN has never been easier, or more cost-effective for small businesses.

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