The Aironet 1250 series access point isto have been part of the Wi-Fi Alliance's testbed of Draft 2.0 products. The Wi-Fi Alliance embarked on an in June because suppliers were becoming impatient with delays in getting the standard properly certified by the Institute of Electrial and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE--a process now scheduled to be completed next year at the earliest.
Some other manufacturers,, have decided to hold off on the production of business-grade 802.11n equipment until the IEEE has given its official approval. Even Frank Hanzlik, the former head of the Wi-Fi Alliance, claimed that the draft certification was primarily aimed at satisfying the consumer sector.
Richard Moir, a Cisco spokesperson, said on Wednesday that there was "85 percent agreement within the Wi-Fi Alliance" regarding the second draft of the 802.11n specification. "Even though this is Draft 2.0, what we're hoping is that, bar a few software changes, (it will be the same as) the final release next year. Customers will have already made an investment."
If the final specification for 802.11n did require a change in the hardware, upgrading the Cisco access point would be "a simple matter of popping out one radio card and putting in another," Moir said, adding that a "fair" upgrade cost might be incurred, if necessary.
The 802.11n standard is seen by many as a huge advance in Wi-Fi technology due to its increased reliability and predictability. Cisco's new access point will bring some of that improved functionality to 802.11b and 802.11g clients due to its backward-compatibility, Moir claimed.
Cisco also announced other 802.11n products on Tuesday, including the 48Gbps Catalyst 6500-based wireless-area-network controller system, and wired and wireless services monitored and managed by Cisco's Unified Wireless Network Software Release 4.2.
David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.