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Article | May 17, 2012
B&B Electronics Mfg. Co.: Airborne WiFi access points
B&B Electronics’ first 802.11 b/g WiFi access point for industrial M2M applications is available in two forms: an embeddable module (APMG-Q551) that allows OEMs to WiFi-enable their own products; and an external Ethernet access point (APXG-
Airborne Access Point technology allows the access-point-equipped device to become the center of its own self-sufficient Wi-Fi network. 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 truck into a wireless gateway. The newly-created local WiFi network around the service truck enables multiple handhelds and tablets to talk to each other, can provide access to other equipment with embedded WiFi capability in the truck, 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 typically found on wireless access points. 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. Built for industrial conditions, 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.
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