A new WiFi access point that provides M2M equipment with wireless networking capabilities has been launched by B&B Electronics.
The industrial-grade wireless access point comes as the first results of the company’s acquisition of Quatech in 2011.
The Airborne 802.11 b/g access point appears in two forms: An embeddable module (APMG-Q551) allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to WiFi-enable their own products so they can either serve as M2M wireless communications hubs or tie into existing wireless networks.
An external Ethernet access point (APXG-Q5420) provides the same functionality in a stand-alone box, and adds serial device server capability as well.
The technology allows the access-point-equipped device to become the centre of its own self-sufficient Wi-Fi network. As a result It can communicate with other Wi-Fi enabled devices, including laptops, tablets and handhelds using Android, iOS, or Windows.
As an example, an embedded APMG can turn an isolated piece of equipment in a service vehicle into a wireless gateway. The newly-created local WiFi network around the service vehicle enables multiple handhelds and tablets to talk to each other, can provide access to other equipment with embedded WiFi capability in the vehicle and can provide access to the Internet via cellular modem.
The external APXG access point is equipped with a typical Ethernet port, plus two serial ports that are not generally found on wireless access points. The solution features an Ethernet, WiFi and two serial ports all in one box.
It can be configured as a router or network bridge. Its serial interfaces support RS232/422/485 legacy devices, and both ports can be used simultaneously. With the ability to connect and route between any of its ports, the APXG can serve as an access point (handling up to eight simultaneous client connections) or as a bridge (tying WiFi devices into Ethernet networks), while simultaneously serving as a serial device server (bridging serial devices into either wired or wireless LANs.)
Both the APMG and APXG units can switch easily from access point to client mode through either web or command line interfaces. In client mode the devices provide WPA2-Enterprise Class Extensible Authentication Protocols (EAP) with support for authentication Certificates. Advanced security including WEP, WPA (TKIP), WPA2 (AES – FIPS 197), WPA2 Enterprise, 802.11i and 802.1x (EAP) are standard.
The units include support for EAP-TLS, EAP-TTLS, PEAP, EAP-FAST and LEAP with AES-CCMP supported in the hardware, and a fully-functional DHCP server to provide unique addresses for each authenticated client.
The devices are built for industrial conditions by which both Airborne access points are rated for an extended operating temperature range (-20°C to 85°C). The external APXG supports wide-range input power (5 to 36 VDC) and features a rugged metal enclosure, panel and DIN rail mounting tabs, and a terminal block and a barrel jack power connection.