Chantry Networks Inc. has launched what it says is the world's first wireless LAN based on IP-routing technology. The BeaconWorks product line, which includes BeaconMaster controllers and BeaconPoint access points, will deliver more scalable and dependable wireless networks, the company says.
Whereas other wireless LAN products have centralized intelligence and management capabilities distributed in a series of switches that are installed in the field near access points, Chantry's network puts the smarts of the system in a box that resides in a company's central server farm. The BeaconPoint access points are then plugged anywhere into an IP network, where they communicate directly to a single BeaconMaster controller.
One benefit of this architecture is increased stability, says Brian Collie, executive VP of product operations. Whereas a single switch can only have a limited number of access points connected to it--limited by geography, among other factors--a wireless LAN router can support thousands of access points. Centralized control of the entire wireless-network infrastructure makes it easier to manage, he says, and since the BeaconPoints are deployed on an IP network, companies can easily control security and user roles.
Routed wireless LANs also offer the increased redundancy and failsafe abilities of IP networks, Collie says. If one access point goes down, users can automatically connect to a redundant one. And since the BeaconMaster works as a full IP router, it can easily interface with network authentication and security services.