WiFi? Why Not?

Aruba shows new wireless options at NRF

NEW YORK -- Price may have been a stumbling point for retailers looking to expand wireless fidelity or WiFi applications at their stores, which is why Aruba Networks has introduced new devices that will expand the reach of a company's wireless network but at a lower price point.

Showing their latest products at the National Retail Federation (NRF) convention and exposition in New York, officials with the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Aruba said retailers are demanding more from their wireless networks these days, including added security against hackers and [image-nocss] differing levels of access for in-store cashiers and managers.

There are many reasons c-stores might want to deploy WiFi, says Troy Wendt, director of product marketing. PDAs [personal digital assistants] can access the network, as can wireless voice devices and point-of-sale, RFID [radio frequency identification], handheld inventory devices, kiosks and offering customers WiFi access are all reasons.

Aruba's product mix has grown to include devices aimed to the store level. The new products allow retailers needing only limited WiFi access a system for roughly $2,000, a price that includes the WiFi devices, software and controller. In the c-store space, these new devices could convert a single store to WiFi or if purchased for multiple sites, extend a company's existing wireless network to all of its stores.

Our newcontroller is designed for use in retail stores and branch offices that want to extend wireless LAN, but don't need a large-scale box, said Don Reckles, senior marketing manager for Aruba.

Reckles and Wendt were at the trade show in New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The 95th NRF convention, which began last Sunday, will run from through tomorrow and features educational sessions on retail trends and technology, as well as a full trade show of suppliers catering to retailers across multiple channels.