WLAN firmware extends useful life of industrial wireless devices

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Belden Inc. is introducing Hirschmann HiLCOS 8.8, the latest version of its WLAN firmware to manage its range of OpenBAT industrial wireless devices. This version is described as an industry first as it supports IPv6, which is intended to replace IPv4. A key benefit is that the useful life of installed wireless devices can now be extended, as they will still be able to communicate via public WLAN networks for which IPv4 addresses are now no longer being allocated. Product Manager Pascal Unterdorfer explains: “The new HiLCOS 8.8 firmware opens up new possibilities for using WLAN in automation, for example, in power supply applications. These use public networks to control power distribution, making IPv6 routing an absolute must.”

HiLCOS 8.8 is now available as a free download from The new firmware also offers extensive management, redundancy and security functions. When used in combination with the hardware of the OpenBAT access points, HiLCOS 8.8 enables 450 Mbit/s WLAN connections for stability and reliability. This firmware can also be installed in most of the devices in the BAT54 and BAT300 series and in BAT controllers.

To ensure uninterrupted service, the new firmware features a band steering function, which transfers clients’ radio communications to the 5GHz frequency band if the 2.4GHz band is overloaded. In this band, it is also possible to carry out frequency analyses to determine whether any Bluetooth devices, wireless HART sensors or microwave ovens are using it.

IPv6 routers can be used to set up both WAN connections and hardware-encrypted VPN tunnels. The management functions available via LANconfig, LANmonitor and WLANmonitor include SNMPv2, Telnet, HTTP(S), SSL, serial COM port, (T)FTP and LLDP. Dual roaming, rapid spanning tree and port grouping ensure high network availability. In addition to WPA and WPA2, the data security features include all encryption methods compliant with IEEE 802.11i. Clients can be authenticated via IEEE 802.1× and RADIUS servers. Unauthorised access points that attempt to penetrate the network are detected via WLANmonitor using Rogue AP.

To learn more about Hirschmann HiLCOS 8.8, please go to

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