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Symbol Unveils Switch to Bridge RFID and WiFi

Symbol Technologies today announced the release of the RFS7000 RF Switch, which it is calling the industry's first RF switch. It represents a key component of the Wireless Next Generation architecture, or Wi-NG, which the company announced in May would be a new strategic direction in its furtherance of enterprise mobility.
Nov 01, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

November 1, 2006—Symbol Technologies today announced the release of the RFS7000 RF Switch, which it is calling the industry's first RF switch. It represents a key component of the Wireless Next Generation architecture, or Wi-NG, which the company announced in May would drive their next generation of enterprise mobility solutions.

The RFS7000 is a device (see photo) designed to consolidate existing and up-and-coming wireless technologies, including RFID, WiFi, WiMAX, Voice over Wireless LAN, mesh networking, and 802.11n. The idea is that it enable efficient deployment and centralized management of the increasingly heterogenous wireless and mobile devices feeding data into the enterprise.

"Business needs are driving the convergence of voice, video, and data, effectively pushing the new mobile edge from the wired to the wireless touch point, and requiring the network to adapt to the changing needs of new mobile devices and applications," said Anthony Bartolo, vice president and general manager of Symbol's Wireless Infrastructure and RFID Divisions. "The switch will provide the platform to integrate and manage current and future mobile devices and wireless technologies."

Symbol cites a wide range of targeted environments, including manufacturing facilities, hospitals, warehousing and supply chain, educational and government institutions, and service providers with high-bandwidth requirements and mission-critical applications.

The announcement points to Bangkok-based Bumrungrad International, the largest private hospital in Southeast Asia. Symbol currently has a large footprint at the facility, including a network of RFID readers. The hospital is planning to expand even further the use of RFID and wireless technologies across its campus to allow for new, state-of-the-art applications that support staff and patients. "Our preference is to manage the applications with one platform, to help ensure that we continue to deliver quality services to our patients and streamline hospital administrative services," director of IT operations Chang Foo said in a statement. "That environment must accommodate both current and future wireless technologies, including RFID." To that end, the hospital selected the new Symbol RF switch.

"Like Bumrungrad International, businesses want to move away from 'piecemeal RF technology' installs, and be able to leverage their wireless network investment on an ongoing basis rather than rip and replace hardware to keep up with technology changes," according to Symbol's Bartolo. "Designed to evolve and mature as requirements continue to change, the RFS7000 RF Switch will enable simultaneous, centralized management of RFID readers and WiFi network infrastructure, creating a streamlined connection to business logic and back-end application systems."

The RFS7000 will be available beginning in the first quarter of 2007 in select regions.

For technical details, see the official announcement
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