Observer Supports 802.11a/b/g

Minneapolis, MN-based Network Instruments today announced a new upgrade to its Observer line of products, adding support for the 2.4GHz 802.11g draft standard for wireless networking. Observer, currently at version 8.3, already supports 802.11b and the 5GHz 802.11a specifications from the IEEE.

“We had a good partnership with Atheros, and thanks to their cooperation we were able to come out with our G support, once they announced their 11g chips,” says Roman Oliynyk, CEO and chief software architect at Network Instruments. In addition to Atheros products, Observer supports products from Cisco and Symbol. Atheros multimode chips have been announced from companies like Linksys, D-Link, and Netgear.

As Oliynyk puts it, all the components the software needs to analyze an 11g network were already in place: “The speed/transfer rate component is similar to 11a and the channels and frequencies are the same as 11b. So everything in the product is easily supporting G. There was no need for any new statistics [in the product], since it was all covered by 11a/b.

Adding 11g to Observer 8.3 — the company expects to make a big update, probably to version 9.0, later this year — will not bring a price increase, and the company will in fact make updates with 11g support freely available to current Observer users.

Observer comes in several packages, including the standard edition for $995, expert edition for $2,895, and the full Observer Suite for $3,995. Observer works with WLAN and various forms of wired network, including Ethernet, Token Ring, and Gigabit Ethernet.

The 802.11g specification is still in draft stage with the IEEE’s 802.11 Working Group, and is heading for ratification sometime in the summer of 2003.

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