What are the functional differences between the 500 and 1100 Series WAPs?

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Aug 28th, 2009
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My partner wanted to know  what are the functional differences between the 500 and 1100 Series WAPs?  They typically use the 1131bg (Standalone, not the Lightweight) for almost all of theirjobs, but noticed that the 500 Series is quite a bit cheaper. They want to know if the 500 Series WAPs would do the trick for us or if they should just stick with the 1100 Series.

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David Hornstein Mon, 08/31/2009 - 07:39
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Hi Ann

Thank you for your question Ann.

When you take a cursory look at the AP1131bg datasheet


and then compare it to the AP521 datasheet


You will note that physically, both have identical BG antenna gain and horizontal transmitting charcateristics and Transit power ( I haven't spotted a difference).

Both are POE enabled and can be supplied with power from a POE switch or injector.

The differences become evident with the management and software loads on both units.

The standalone AP521 is meant to be configured via Cisco Configuration Assistant  (CCA) or the Built in GUI in the product. Only a limited subset of commands are available via the console port on the AP521. The AP521 doesn't have that same extensive command line interface (CLI) featureset as compared to the 1131bg.

The AP521 is designed for the small business client whereby this important  provisioning  tasks and troubleshooting tasks are handles by CCA.  With the use of CCA a VAR can deploy the AP521 much faster without having to worry about VLAN configuration or wireless encryption etc..., this provisioning is done via the relatively easy CCA user interface.

The AP1100, AP1130, AP200, AP1240, and BR1310 series all support work group bridge modes of operation, The AP521 cannot be reconfigured as a workgroup bridge to bridge two LAN segments together. The 1131 can be configured as a workgroup bridge if needed via such interfaces as the CLI or the build in GUI interface, and as such the IOS version within the 1131 makes the 1131 alot more versatile compared to the AP521.

In summary:

My thoughts on the major differences,  1131gb are more versitile compared to the AP521, because of the differences in IOS software,  but their physical charcateristics, TX power, horizontal range, antenna gain seem identical.. The AP521 can only be used to concentrate PC's or IP phones, whilst the 1130 series can be used to do that as well as be configured quickly as a wireless bridge. I have included the Cisco Q&A section on the 1130 series below in case you wish to dig deeper into the differences.  http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/wireless/ps5678/ps6087/prod_qas0900aecd801b9189.html

Hope this cursory note helps Ann, and I'm sure people will add to this interesting discussion thread.

regards Dave


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