Cisco, partner to tackle Wi-Fi interference

Cisco Systems Inc. is clearing the air around enterprise wireless LANs with a partner that specializes in radio spectrum analysis.

The company is offering Cognio Inc.'s Spectrum Expert for Wi-Fi, a tool for studying interference around a wireless LAN, to complement its own Wireless Control System. Together, the tools are intended to help enterprises lay out wireless LANs and take care of rogue wireless gear and interference from a variety of sources, including non-Wi-Fi devices such as microwave ovens. Cognio's product is available now through Cisco's regular sales channels.

Interference and security are two key issues for enterprises that want to set up comprehensive wireless LANs for demanding new applications, namely VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol). Cognio is one of many specialist companies that offer tools for working out those issues. Cisco, which is betting big on the spread of Wi-Fi from vertical industries to general businesses, wants to make sure its networks deliver a good experience.

The Spectrum Expert is a CardBus device that plugs into a Windows notebook and works with software to detect and identify interfering devices and help a technician locate the device. Wireless LAN security systems from AirMagnet Inc., Fluke Networks Inc. and WildPackets Inc. use Cognio technology. Cisco's Wireless Control System is a server-based application for planning, designing, monitoring and managing wireless LANs. It can support thousands of access points around an enterprise and carry out tasks including user tracking and security monitoring, according to Cisco.

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