Linksys has produced two new routers for small businesses that it says will provide a highly secure network for remote workers.
The router, combined with an access point and CardBus adapter will use a draft version of the 802.11n standard for high speed, and is a step up from the consumer market that Linksys specialises in, thanks to the inclusion of security and management features into the products.
The company will not stray too far into parent company Cisco's space though, general manager of the Linksys Home Networking Business Unit, Malachy Moynihan, said, as it aiming at companies with under 100 employees and Cisco concentrates on those with 200 or more employees.
If companies do start with Linksys gear and then outgrow it, there's a trade-in program to help them buy the Cisco products, he added.
Enterprise wireless LANs have been advancing from traditional standalone access points to complete systems with centralised control and numerous security features. Linksys is bringing some of those advantages to the small-business market, Moynihan said.
The new routers are the WRVS440N Wireless-N Gigabit Security Router, which includes four Gigabit Ethernet ports and support for an IPSec VPN for workers outside the office. It also comes with a firewall and an Intrusion Prevention System to protect the network from Internet-borne threats.
The WAP4400N Wireless-N Access Point comes equipped with power over Ethernet (PoE) so it can be powered solely via the Ethernet cable from the Wireless-N router or another wired device.
In small businesses with larger LANs, roaming software in the access points and the client lets users stay connected as they move around the office or shop.
A Wireless Client Monitoring application developed by Linksys uses the access point and the WPC4400N Wireless-N CardBus Adapters in notebook PCs to keep track of what clients and access points are on the network.
The system, which can be monitored on a Web browser, can detect rogue access points that are accidentally or deliberately plugged into the wired LAN.
The monitoring system can be set to automatically solve the problem, Moynihan said. The system can also show which clients are on the network and what channels they are using, to aid wireless LAN management in companies that typically don't have a full-time IT administrator.
The 802.11n standard isn't finished, but it may be smarter for small businesses to go ahead and move if they want the performance, said Yankee Group analyst Nicole Klein.
"To wait a year and a half or even a year for a solution that will be compliant with the standard ... I'm not sure," Klein said.
The access point and adapter are set for immediate availability through Linksys' channel partners, with street prices of $169 and $129, respectively. The router is set to ship in September for an estimated $229.
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