One Access Point For All Wi-Fi

By Colin C. Haley

November 15, 2004

Wireless and peripheral specialist Symbol intros a new access point to make better use of WLANs.

Symbol Technologies will introduce a new access point device Monday designed to help enterprises extend wireless coverage throughout their operations.

The AP 300 is designed to lower costs of wireless local area networks because it supports all the major Wi-Fi protocols currently in use, including 802.11h, which addresses the requirements of European regulators.

The device lists for $349. It can be mounted on walls or above ceiling tiles and comes in a plastic housing with internal antenna or a metal casing with external antenna.

Symbol claims that the AP 300 is the first product to offer virtual access point (VAP) technology on 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g standards. VAP enables a single device to be divided, with each layer being assigned different usage rights. For example, a company's workers might have one level of network access and its managers another.

"We think the markets are going to go to AP 300 across the board within the next nine to 12 months," said Gary Singh, Symbol's senior marketing director.

In conjunction with the AP 300 launch, Symbol upgraded the software for its WS 2000 wireless switch for small and medium businesses and branch offices of larger companies.

Version 1.5 has several enhancements, including upgraded firewall and content filtering, a response to the importance place on security by enterprise customers.

The Holtsville, N.Y.-based company competes in the growing wireless networking space with industry giant Cisco .

It's also heavily involved in computer peripherals. Last month, it rolled out a new line of handheld computers aimed at filling the gap between its own "ruggedized" handhelds and off-the-shelf consumer PDAs.

The most recent Symbol news, however, was financial. The company has had to delay its third-quarter earnings report and lower its guidance because of two reporting problems.

In one case, one of the company's distribution partners underreported its inventory levels. And in another, an error in reporting in quarter-end inventory levels occurred at a Symbol-owned facility. The mistakes caused Symbol to improperly book revenue.



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