Motorola's New Indoor/Outdoor Management Solution

By Naomi Graychase

October 16, 2008

The time is right to consider wireless as the default connectivity solution, says Motorola. Its new One Point Wireless Suite and Wireless Manager 2.0, announced Tuesday, are designed to help make that happen.

Motorola this week introduced its new One Point Wireless Suite and announced it would release its new Wireless Manager 2.0, a network management tool that works with Moto’s indoor RF Management Suite to offer a single point of control for Motorola indoor and outdoor wireless networks, in 1Q09.

With this new “holistic” approach, Motorola has created an end-to-end portfolio of products for designing, implementing, and managing wireless and wired enterprise-grade networks, both indoors and out.

“We recognize the trend in the industry that enterprises are increasingly going wireless. We serve that need with hardware and we’re bringing together a suite of applications that let you design, deploy, and manage an indoor and outdoor network,” Alan Lopez, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Motorola told Wi-Fi Planet Wednesday. “If you look at it as one network, rather than several managed by different tools, you can respond very quickly and localize problems as they pop up.”

The One Point Wireless Suite includes the following components, which can be used individually or in combination, depending on network design and management needs:

  • MeshPlanner provides the ability to design and measure mesh networks and point-to-multi-point backhaul. It is intended to replace field-based or manual design and verification with software-based processes, in order to reduce planning and labor costs while also creating a network design with optimal coverage, capacity, and performance.
  • PTP LINKPlanner is a tool for maximizing link planning efficiency while optimizing coverage and minimizing interference for single or multiple point-to-point (PTP) links. The software allows users to create "what if" scenarios while determining vital performance measurements to include link reliability, throughput, and path loss. The tool integrates with Google Maps to provide a visual overview of the entire PTP wireless network. Reports generated from the tool help planners to create installation guidelines and validate overall link performance across the PTP portfolio of wireless Ethernet bridges.
  • LANPlanner is a predictive design and verification tool for enterprise wireless LANs (WLANs). [Read our review here.]
  • Wireless Manager enables streamlined deployment and provisioning of networks. Once the network is operational, the software offers full management capabilities, including detection and resolution of problems that impact network performance and user satisfaction, activity scheduling, automated firmware upgrades, and security provisioning and enforcement. 
  • RF Management Suite is a complete management solution that provides network and security control throughout the complete lifecycle of the WLAN infrastructure—from planning and deployment through day-to-day monitoring and troubleshooting. It includes integration with Motorola AirDefense wireless IPS to provide protection against unauthorized access, as well as compliance with HIPAA and other government and industry regulations. [Read our review here.]

“The LANPlanner, the MeshPlanner, and the PTP LINKPlanner—with these three tools you can predict very accurately your expected coverage to make sure it matches your requirements,” says Lopez. “So you don’t over spend or under spend—you save money on deployment. With a good design, the deployment will be much less iterative and trial and error-based. Cost and proper design are the value drivers for the design suite.”

Where in the world

The Wireless Manager 2.0 application integrates Google Maps to create a real-time visual representation of the network in its actual terrain.moto2.jpg

“You get a view of the network,” says Lopez. “You can select satellite, terrain, street map, hybrid—much like the Google Maps environment. Overlaid on that is the network itself, colored by link status—red, yellow, green—as well as icons for each node, as well as icons for operating.”

The software pulls together information and data from all tiers of the network, indoors and out, consolidates it, and delivers a “unified” view to network managers. According to Lopez, network elements are overlaid on satellite images as icons and a wide range of information, including connectivity between nodes, link quality or range and availability are then viewable on the screen, which enables network operators to visually monitor the health of all network components, including device-specific information. It also provides an historical trend analysis of how the network has performed and changed over time and enables users to access pre-defined or custom reports to receive a health check of the network at any given point in time.

Embedding Google’s technology is partly about function and partly about usability.

“We’re utilizing some of Google’s standard APIs around Google Earth functionality, that bring reality into play,” Roger Skidmore, System Architect for Motorola, told Wi-Fi Planet. “It enables us to put it into the context that people are becoming more and more familiar with.”

According to Skidmore, Motorola had to reach agreements with Google to fully integrate the Google Maps technology into its Wireless Manager 2.0. “We are leveraging their standard APIs and extending them in some cases,” he said.

Defensible position The RF Management Suite includes integration of AirDefense technology, which is no surprise, given that Motorola recently completed its acquisition of the successful WLAN security vendor and has been OEMing its solution for some time.

“It’s a best-in-class solution for security, so we decided to bring them into the fold and deliver more value, along the same axis of the solution that they offer,” said Lopez. “We think wireless security is exceeding the level of security you have in a wired network. With the performance enhancements in 802.11n, it’s time for wireless to be the network of choice, and for wired to be what you use if wireless isn’t practical for some reason. The time is right to consider wireless as the default connectivity solution.”

On the horizon

When Motorola looks ahead, it sees a wireless world. “We don’t expect people to rip and replace their wired infrastructure; it’s a natural evolution that’s already taking place,” says Lopez. “We’re seeing wireless LANs and wireless broadband are cheaper and faster to deploy, so with reaching parity on performance and security—and exceeding—the time is ripe for people to continue pushing along that route of more and more wireless.”

Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-Fi Planet.

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