LAN plan tool supports 802.11n

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Motorola's Enterprise Mobility unit has updated its wireless LAN planning tool to support 802.11n rollouts. The software is likely to prove beneficial to IT departments or network providers planning to upgrade their Wi-Fi installations in the near future.

Motorola's LANPlanner uses imported AutoCAD plans of a site to predict network performance. After deployment, its site survey capabilities can highlight problem areas that might impact the quality of service experienced by users. The tool allows network managers to better plan the wireless deployment themselves, according to Motorola.

Version 11 of the suite, available from the third quarter of 2008, adds the ability to simulate the performance of 802.11n kit. While 802.11n holds out the promise of longer range and higher bandwidth than earlier standards, it also makes use of multiple signal pathways, typically caused by reflections. While this makes it more robust, it can also make planning more complex.

"In many ways, 802.11n solves a lot of problems, and can give better coverage of particular areas," said Angelo Lamme, a senior product marketing manager at Motorola.

The new LANPlanner can simulate a 'clean' deployment or a rip-and-replace of existing kit, according to Lamme.

"You can see what the coverage would be if you take out all the old access points and replace them with 802.11n," he said. Network planners can use this information to determine if coverage is sufficient. Browsing the web needs less coverage than using voice-over-Wi-Fi, for example.

A key feature is that LANPlanner enables firms to design coverage so that as much of the signal remains within their building, rather than leaking out into surrounding areas, Lamme said.

Motorola trains its partners and systems integrators to use the tool when installing networks, but the software is also available to end users.

"Customers told us they would like to have this tool themselves for extending their networks," Lamme said. Pricing for the new version has yet to be announced. @ 2010 Incisive Media

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