High-speed Wireless LAN Technology

Ricoh's wireless LAN technology enables high-speed communications in a secure manner with excellent connectivity.

Improving office IT environment with comfort and security

Wireless LAN becomes popular in offices. In fact, the office where a network is operated only by wireless LAN has appeared. Demands are increasing for layout independent network where PCs, printers, and multi-function printers (MFPs) are connected without cables. An optional board featuring this technology adds speed and high security to document management including printing and “scan-to-Email” in a wireless environment. Another advantage of this technology is a stable connection that is not easily affected by fluctuations in the wireless environment, under the rapid increase in a wireless LAN node in recent years.

Wireless LAN with stability and speed

This technology is carefully implemented to ensure stable, high-speed wireless LAN communications. The antennas are specifically optimized for desktop and floor-standing printers/MFPs. We integrated features needed for this new technology into the control LSI (with built-in CPU and memory) with embedded software.

Figure 1: Option board for desktop devices and installation
Figure 1: Option board for desktop devices and installation

Figure 2: Option board for floor-standing devices and installation
Figure 2: Option board for floor-standing devices and installation

Ricoh developed the following core modules for the technologies conforming to IEEE802.11 wireless LAN standards:

Figure 3: Modules developed by Ricoh
Figure 3: Modules developed by Ricoh

(1) Control software corresponding to MAC sublayer

Ricoh developed the control software for the hardware modules in this sublayer and lower-level layers. The software receives commands from higher-level layers (such as device drivers) and establishes communications with the destination terminal using protocols conforming to the standards. The development team thoroughly verified interconnectivity with a variety of terminals, and carefully designed the algorithm to improve connectivity.

(2) Control LSI corresponding to MAC sublayer and PLCP sublayer

The LSI is an SoC (System on Chip) device integrating CPU, memory, and AD/DA converters. It is a key device that provides data framing, time management, encryption, modulation/demodulation, and interfaces for MFPs and laser printers. Supported encryption schemes are WEP (ARC4), TKIP (ARC4), and CCMP (AES), and supported modulation/demodulation schemes are DBPSK, DQPSK, BPSK, QPSK, 16QAM, and 64QAM for primary modulation and DSSS/CCK and OFDM for secondary modulation. The architecture is optimized for MFPs and laser printers; rich functions and performance are integrated into one chip.

(3)Radio-frequency (RF) circuit corresponding to PMD sublayer

This circuit supports channels of the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band. Support for the 5 GHz band allows users to enjoy high-speed communications in an environment where interference waves are marginal. The circuit is approved under local regulations in many countries and regions – Japan, USA, Canada, Europe, China, and Taiwan. While the board is common to all countries and regions, it operates in accordance with radio wave restrictions of the shipping destinations.

Enabling multi-channel operability and high security

The technology supports not only IEEE802.11b/g radio but also IEEE802.11a radio communications standards. In recent years, wireless specialists are worried about the shortage of bandwidth in the frequency band of IEEE802.11b/g (2.4GHz band) which is used widely. Probably, in wireless LAN operation of a next-generation office, utilizing limited frequency band resources more efficiently is expected. This technology realizes comfortable high-speed communication by supporting not only 3 channels of IEEE802.11b/g (2.4GHz band) but also 8 channels of IEEE802.11a(5GHz band) which use will expand from now on.

It also supports IEEE802.11i security standards, which stipulate the authentication and encryption protocols of the devices. And it also supports IEEE 802.1X (RADIUS) authentication, that is rare, as a wireless LAN function for Enterprise printers and multi-function printers (MFPs). These function enable a level of security comparable to or higher than wired LAN.

The features of this technology

Ricoh’s original features and performance in this aspect are as follows:
    • High connectivity with a variety of access points (master stations) of different characteristics
    • Mostly immune to fluctuations in radio environment (easy connection and support)
    • Short time to connect (up to 5 seconds shorter, compared to previous Ricoh models)
    • Long communication spans thanks to specially designed antennas (up to 70% improvement over previous Ricoh models)

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