Cisco unveiled a board that slots into its 2800 or 3800 routers, and a blade for the Catalyst 6500 switch chassis, with software from Cisco and an embedded version of ConnecTerra’s RFTagAware middleware for RFID.
These network devices now can filter raw RFID traffic at the edge of a network, as well as pass it through to data center switches where it can be collected, managed and passed on to enterprise applications. The Cisco code, with the ConnecTerra software, lets administrators create policies on where and how RFID traffic is to be handled in the network, then distribute these policies to Cisco routers and switches.
Called Application Oriented Network (AON) for RFID Solution, the new product is set to ship next month for $16,250. AON is Cisco’s effort to create software that will let its network gear route and manage traffic based on the content of application messages, such as purchase orders or stock trades.
The overall goal of the new RFID board is to help enterprises install and run large numbers of RFID tags and readers, and then manage these and their traffic as part of their current corporate nets.
“With RFID, a whole bunch of network services around it will be provisioned in the [Cisco] network,” says Mohsen Moazami, vice president of retail and distribution at Cisco, and the person in charge of the vendor’s RFID efforts. “Those services include security, location awareness, device management, filtering and prioritization.”
The new hardware module lets the network devices apply quality-of-service policies, take action on RFID events at the edge of the net, and shield back-end applications from having to know details about specific RFID readers or servers.
Other elements of Cisco’s RFID push include recently created and expanded consulting services to help customers with various phases of RFID deployment, partnerships with software vendors that are supporting the embedded Cisco software, and the company’s 802.11 wireless LAN-based tagging and tracking product, the Cisco 2700 Wireless Location Appliance, from its Airespace acquisition.
The new package of consulting services include a readiness assessment of a customer’s current net infrastructure and an RFID pilot program.
A key partner for Cisco is ConnecTerra, which provides infrastructure software for RFID and client devices. Also announced were partnerships with Intermec and ThingMagic for active RFID tags, and PanGo Networks.
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