Broadcom has combined its wireless LAN (WLAN) silicon, switch silicon and networking software to support enterprise wireless networks based on the latest version of Wi-Fi. The eventual result should be reliable wireless network equipment that service providers can offer to install and support for commercial customers.
The combination constitutes what Broadcom warrants as a complete platform for OEMs to create a unified wireless network solution. The 802.11n standard provides greater mobility and more robust connections than previous Wi-Fi versions, which is expected to make Wi-Fi more acceptable in the enterprise market.
Most enterprise wireless networks in existence today have been grafted onto an existing wired network using an overlay approach in which all WLAN traffic is tunneled to a centralized access controller, where it is de-encapsulated and authenticated before entering the wired network. While this approach is workable for 802.11a/b/g networks, Broadcom explained, it creates bottlenecks in higher bandwidth 802.11n networks because it treats wireless as a special service running over the network rather than an inherent feature of the network itself.
Broadcom’s solution includes several new products: the BCM56520 unified wireless switch, the Intensi-fi BCM4748 802.11n access point (AP) system-on-a-chip (SoC) with Accelerange technology, and FastPath Unified Wireless Switching (UWS) 6.0 software optimized for unified wireless switching and unified wireless APs.
Separately, Broadcom announced its new XGS Core fabric architecture, which the company described as a scalable, high-performance switch fabric that will enable low-power, high-density, highly reliable Ethernet switches for data center, enterprise and service provider networks.