Microwave Journal

A Wireless LAN Access Point

An access point that allows wireless workstations to be added quickly and easily to a wired network

January 1, 1997

A Wireless LAN Access Point

Lucent Technologies Inc. ,
Morristown, NJ (800) 928-3526

Today businesses all over the world are utilizing wireless local area networks (LAN), making mobile computing a reality. In response to the need for compatibility and higher performance, the WavePOINT®-II access point, which bridges standard Ethernet LANs to WaveLAN® wireless LANs, has been introduced. Using the WavePOINT-II access point, wireless workstations can be added quickly and easily to a wired network.

This new wireless LAN system incorporates two Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) slots, providing optimal configuration flexibility particularly in light of the impending IEEE 802.11 compatibility requirements. The use of modular PCMCIA-based wireless network interfaces enables the WavePOINT-II unit to accommodate 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz transmissions simultaneously using one slot each. The dual-card architecture also boosts capacity. The system's throughput is doubled by using two cards operating on different channels, thereby doubling the number of users supported by a single access point.

The two available PCMCIA slots make migration to the future IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN systems plug and play. A WavePOINT-II unit is simply installed in the existing LAN network. When the PCMCIA IEEE card is available, it can be installed in the WavePOINT-II unit and both existing and new stations can be supported. When the system is converted completely, the second slot is available for other uses.

The dual architecture makes it easy to construct wireless-to-wireless bridging. One PCMCIA slot is used for communications with local wireless nodes while the second slot communicates directly with a wireless backbone. This technique is especially useful in large open environments that are difficult to cable.

The WavePOINT-II access point is provided with Windows-based software for configuring, managing and remotely monitoring the network. An enhanced version of the software provides link diagnostics to determine link quality, signal level, signal-to-noise ratio and noise level.

The WavePOINT-II access point supports Ethernet 802.3 10Base-T and 10Base2 (thin Ethernet) wired networks. The unit measures 185 x 261 x 50 mm, and a metal base and a plastic cover are provided for tabletop use, or ceiling or wall mounting. Figure 1 shows a typical wall-mounted installation. Light-emitting diodes indicate power/error status and activity on wired LANs, and wireless 1 and 2 LANs. An integrated autosensing power supply operates from 100 to 240 V AC. Operating temperature is 0° to 40°C.

Fig. 1: A typical wall-mounted installation.

The unit is capable of transparent bridging (IEEE 802.1D) and supports the Spanning Tree Protocol, allowing users to create fault-tolerant wireless links. Secure communications via encryption are also possible if supported by the inserted PCMCIA card.

WavePOINT-II provides many advantages, including flexible extension of a wired network; no waiting for cabling; and fast, simple installation. The unit is compact and reliable, providing a cost-effective doubling of capacity in high intensity areas.

The WavePOINT-II kit includes the access point unit with preconfigured, installed software; a Windows-based WaveMANAGER; mounting material; a quick installation guide; an installation and operation floppy disk guide; and a WaveMONITOR site survey tool. WaveLAN PCMCIA cards are optional.

Lucent Technologies Inc.,
Morristown, NJ (800) 928-3526.