CTIA: Flurry of cellular data access products unveiled
Getting ready for faster 3G
Network World - Vendors at the CTIA Wireless conference this week debuted an array of products, from modems for laptops to gateways for offices, aimed at helping enterprises exploit the higher bandwidth finally becoming available via 3G cellular data services.
Cisco Systems Inc. and Kentrox LLC unveiled wireless wide-area gateways that incorporate a cellular data modem. Novatel Wireless Inc. has a new high-speed embedded cellular adapter, geared for EV-DO Revision A networks, that incorporates two types of GPS location data and enables streamlined configuration. Sierra Wireless is showcasing its just-announced adapter card for High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) networks, and Axesstel Inc. has a new EV-DO Revision A USB modem targeted at mobile professionals.
Products such as these will make it possible for enterprise users to shift connectivity to increasingly pervasive cellular networks that support much higher throughput than ever before. Verizon Wireless, for example, just announced plans to spend $6 billion to upgrade and extend its CDMA2000 EV-DO cell network to Revision A from Revision 0. The change will give users upload speeds of 300K to 400Kbit/sec. and download speeds of 450K to 800Kbit/sec., up from the corresponding Rev 0 speeds of 50K to 70Kbit/sec. and 400K to 700Kbit\/sec.
Cisco's new cellular interface card, the 3G High-speed Interface Card, slots into the vendor's popular Integrated Services Router (ISR), which is widely deployed in small and midsize businesses as well as branch offices. The board can work on cellular networks from three leading U.S. operators: AT&T (Cingular), Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Wireless.
"This is just like any other WAN option for the router," says Inbar Lasser-Raab, Cisco's director of marketing for enterprise routing. Cisco worked with the carriers to test and certify that the board works with their networks.
The card has sparked a flood of customer inquiries, Lasser-Raab says. Most of them see the cellular link as a network-redundancy option: If a service outage cripples network access over landlines, a high-speed cellular connection will keep a business operational. "Cellular is better than ISDN and comparable to DSL," Lasser-Raab says.
The cellular antenna can be mounted on the ISR itself or up to 50 feet away using a cable. The cards are scheduled to be available this summer for $850.
Also new for the router are two Cisco Wireless LAN Controller cards for attaching WLAN access points. In the past, the ISR's controller card linked with six access points. The new cards support eight and 12. These are set to ship in May and are priced at $4,750 for eight access points and $6,500 for 12.
Kentrox, meanwhile, announced a similar, but stand-alone, 3G gateway. The W1100 Wireless WAN Gateway can be fitted with cellular interfaces for nearly the whole alphabet of networks, including EV-DO and HSUPA, and including 2G services. It has an Ethernet LAN interface to connect with routers or other LAN equipment.
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