Wireless Access Point CPE's(blogger@L-com.com)
There are a lot of wireless applications out there today, with more uses for wireless connectivity springing up all the time. The problem is that as applications expand into more and more unique needs and environments, the wireless access points that worked for one application may not work for another. That forces you to buy a range of equipment to cover all the different places and setups that you are going to need.
There are a few all-in-one solutions, though, like the L-com CPE units. CPE stands for Customer-premises equipment, and generally refers to equipment set up on premises to allow other local equipment to access broader communication services, often controlled off-premises. But L-com's CPE's are designed with versatility in mind, and they have a lot of professional features and capabilities built-in that allow them to function in a variety of ways. Among the features are:
- Outdoor rated (IP55) for indoor or outdoor operation
- Included mast-mount kit allows for quick and/or temporary setups on-the-go
- Power supplied by the included PoE injector and power supply
- Omnidirectional antenna(s) are built in as well as a port to attach an optional external antenna
- Allows a range of wireless Ethernet security methods to ensure secure data transfer
- Selectable bandwidth settings or MIMO RF output
All of these features make them very adjustable for the various environments and networks, but the best part is that they have four "modes" of operation, allowing them to fill a number of roles depending on what you need.
- Wireless Access Point - As a basic wireless access point, each CPE unit can be plugged into a wired network and provide wireless access to it. In this case, the security features come in handy to prevent unauthorized access.
- Wireless Client - As opposed to providing wireless connectivity, the unit can be set to receive a wireless signal and convert into a port to which a wired-only device can be connected.
- Wireless Bridging - Instead of providing general wireless access to a network, two units can be used to wirelessly connect only to each other, effectively bridging a gap wirelessly and allowing the two separate wired networks to communicate. This is helpful in connecting commercial buildings in a campus together without running wires between them.
- Wireless Repeater - In this setup, the unit does not need to be connected via wires at all. It will pick up a wireless network signal and then re-broadcast it wirelessly, extending the range of a single access point without needing to run wires between them. This is very helpful to get around physical or geographical structures, like buildings, trees, or hills, that may block the signal from a single wireless transmission.
Being indoor/outdoor rated and quick and easy to set up and take down, these units are great for special events like conventions and trade shows, for parks and recreation facilities, and for connecting together residential or commercial buildings without needing to run Ethernet cables between them. The units could be permanently installed, or brought along to a location and installed only as long as wireless connectivity is needed there. And since each unit can adjust to the four different modes, you don't need four different units for the different applications.
There are lots of locations where it is simply impossible to run an Ethernet cable, like historic sites, rocky or densely overgrown areas, and busy or high-traffic locations. These CPE units could be used in these places to create wireless hotspots, allow wired surveillance cameras to be set up, or add secure connectivity outside of a home or business. They can be remotely powered with PoE injectors and indoor/outdoor Category 5e bulk cable terminated with a field-installable sealed plug, or they can be plugged in to a nearby AC outlet.
L-com currently carries two CPE wireless access points: a 2.4 GHz 802.11n version, and a 5 GHz 802.11a/n version. Both come complete with installation hardware, power supply, and software. Priced at under $100 each, the value of what you get is extremely high. Check out the item pages to download free datasheets, user manuals, and 2D engineering drawings!
Quick note: L-com has a lot of general and niche wireless equipment and they're making more all the time. Along with these CPE's, you can get a range of wireless RF amplifiers, signal splitters and filters, antennas, low loss coaxial cables, and name-brand active equipment. In addition, they feature a ton of free technical help, including new wireless video tips and application overview diagrams.