Let’s face it, network designers rarely worry about mounting wireless access points in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Even hiding cable runs is often a secondary consideration. To help please both interior decorators and IT pros, HD Communications has developed a small in-wall wireless access point. The HD24613 is an 802.11b/g access point that fits within a wall-mounted utility box–normally reserved for Ethernet jacks.
Simple to retrofit existing wired networks
The HD24613, shown in Figure A, eliminates the need to pull new cables, add power outlets or spend hours figuring out how to mount devices to your ceiling. Simply replace the existing Ethernet jack with the HD24613, power it with a PoE enabled switch or injector and you’re ready to go.
In an August 2007 press release published on EDN.com, Don Davis, President and CEO of HD Communications Corp. was quoted as saying, “Hotels, motels, schools, hospitals, businesses, and homes can now replace their standard in-wall network jack with our new in-wall access point.” David also said, “there have been other in-wall access points offered by others but they are too big, too expensive, and often required additional proprietary equipment to use them. We just made it simple.”
According to the HD Communications’ retail Web site, the HD24613 boosts the following features:
- Dimensions: 2.875″ (L) x 1.75″ (W) x 2.625″ (D)
- High speed 54 Mbps wireless and/or 100 Mbps wired data rate
- RF transmit power settings (5 levels)
- Auto-channel selection setting
- Security: WEP, WPA-PSK, 802.1X/EAP, TKIP, AES
- MAC address filtering
- Wireless client isolation
- AP load balancing
- Extensive management tools via browser-based configuration utility
- Up to 4 separate and unique SSIDs (optional)
- PoE Input: 100-240V~
The HD24613 offers a simple, clean way to provide Wi-Fi coverage without intruding into a space’s existing design. Although it’s not totally theft-proof, the unit’s obscurity offers some physical security. In response to concerns about the unit’s wireless range, Davis stated, “our expertise in wireless communications allowed us to overcome barriers in obtaining long-range indoor wireless connectivity.” The HD24613 may not be as versatile as the typical access point, but under certain conditions it could be the best solution.