US-based Meru Networks, a provider of 802.11n wireless networking solutions, today (11 October 2012) announced the availability of the industry’s highest capacity wireless controller - the MC6000; a BYOD-ready high performance access point - the AP332; and an innovative 802.11ac Investment Protection Plan that protects wireless infrastructure investments as the current standard moves to 802.11ac, which operates in the 5GHz band.
The 802.11ac Investment Protection Plan allows users purchasing AP332 and other qualifying three stream 802.11n access points to trade them in for 802.11ac access points in the future.
‘The rapidly-increasing numbers of mobile users, devices and applications on campuses and in enterprises are correspondingly driving demand for bandwidth expansion on wireless LAN networks,’ said Craig Mathias, a principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group.
‘Meru’s announcement today is a powerful indication that capacity must be increased across the board – user productivity and organisational mission now depend upon reliable, secure and high-performance wireless connectivity.’
Meru vice president of product and solutions marketing, Manish Rai added: ‘Users are now dictating what technology they will bring and use at work or on campus. To manage the crush of BYOD, IT departments need a flexible solution that can help them quickly respond to changing wireless network demands.
‘Meru with its RF virtualisation technology, virtualised controllers and market-leading BYOD on-boarding solution – Identity Manager – delivers flexibility at access, control and policy layers needed to put the control and choice back in the hands of the IT department.’
BYOD-optimised MC6000 controller
The Meru MC6000 ultra-high capacity 802.11ac ready controller is designed to effectively serve 5,000+ access points and 50,000+ users with 200 Gbps wireless capacity. Powered by System Director – the industry’s only virtualised wireless LAN operating system – the new controller delivers capacity and performance for very high-density network environments. The new controller is designed to give IT executives the ability to choose network components and control network operations without compromising capacity, performance, scalability or security.
AP332 access point delivers 50% more capacity
The Meru AP332 is a three-stream 802.11n access point, which delivers up to 50% higher capacity than two stream dual-radio access points. It is designed to meet the capacity needs of dense Wi-Fi and high multimedia usage environments.
Rai added: ‘Meru’s AP332 with its unique RF virtualisation technology can deliver nearly twice the capacity of traditional multi-channel installations with the same number of access points in dense environments, such as lecture halls, conference rooms, stadiums and enterprise campuses. When coupled with Identity Manager – Meru’s market leading solution for automating BYOD on-boarding – we believe Meru offers the best end-to-end solution to manage the BYOD capacity crunch today.’
‘Many IT managers are assuming that the upcoming 802.11ac standard will be the solution to their capacity challenges,’ continued Mathias. ‘But 802.11ac doesn’t address the huge installed base of devices using only the 2.4GHz. Band, as it only performs in the 5GHz. band, so we expect that 802.11n will continue to be the Wi-Fi technology of choice for a number of years yet.’
The 802.11ac Investment Protection Plan
The AP332 access point, available now, comes with Meru’s innovative 802.11ac Investment Protection Plan. Through the plan, customers that purchase Meru’s AP332s, AP320s or AP433s between 1 November 2012 and 28 June 2013, will have an option to pay an additional $499 per access point and trade them in for qualifying Meru 802.11ac access points when they become available (subject to restrictions).
The 802.11ac trade-in plan allows enterprises to migrate their WLANs to the new 802.11 Wi-Fi standard with limited investment. Investments made in qualifying Meru AP products today can be upgraded to 802.11ac in the future for a nominal price. Through the programme, Meru customers have access to robust wireless solutions today without compromising their ability to take advantage of 802.11ac.
Interview with David Kelly, VP International, Meru
Speaking to Wireless, David Kelly, VP International at Meru, said: ‘The market is moving at a tremendous pace. The changes in the wireless market and the explosion of BYOD and what that means for people’s wireless networks in terms of managing capacity is huge. What were good networks deployed three to five years ago are now coming under strain due to the explosion in the number of devices.
‘It is not about coverage anymore, it is about density, volume and the number of devices coming onto the network. We are seeing the consumerisation of IT, as people are now carrying several devices each. When they go into a corporate environment, hotel, airport or stadium, they expect all their devices to be able to access a network – all of which need authenticating.
‘But it is now about what are people now doing with the bandwidth,’ he continued. ‘It is not just about accessing data, it is about file transfer and steaming video. People may want to stream some video and go on Skype at same time. The network must be able to deliver the capacity and handle the increased number of devices.’
Kelly points out that the current 2.4GHz Wi-Fi unlicensed band is extremely crowded and devices are now starting to appear that can use the 5GHz unlicensed band, which the next Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac, will operate in.
‘We are making sure we are ready for that change in the marketplace,’ said Kelly. ‘Last year we unveiled our Identity Manager solution, which allows administrators to ID devices coming onto their networks. Now we want to ensure that large and distributed enterprises have the solutions to handle their networks.
‘The MC6000 high capacity wireless controller can handle 5,000 access points and 500 accesses per blade. It provides really high capacity with 10 blades in the chassis, which will allow it to handle the explosion in capacity. If you need more capacity you just add another blade.’
Kelly added: ‘We have now introduced our new AP332 dual-band, dual-radio, 3x3 MIMO access point. We are building out a solution stack from entry level to the high end density product. It’s all about getting ready for 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which will change the market in the next 12 months.’
Hence the 802.11ac Investment Protection Plan. ‘What we are saying,’ pointed out Kelly, ‘is that if people buy our existing 802.11n access points, they can upgrade to 802.11ac without having to overhaul their existing network. They can just swop over to the 802.11ac access points and system director. But if they invest now in 802.11n they can upgrade at a much reduced trading price for 802.11ac access points next year.’
Kelly concluded: ‘It is important that people know where the market is moving to, so that hospitals, education facilities and enterprises are ready for the 5GHz Wi-Fi devices coming in. They can be reassured that we have a plan ready for them.’