Xirrus announces industry’s ‘lowest-cost’ 802.11ac Wi-Fi access point

Software programmable XR-620 access point expands Xirrus 802.11ac solutions by providing an economical option that delivers 30% more 11ac performance at 30% lower cost, claims vendor

Xirrus announces industry’s ‘lowest-cost’ 802.11ac Wi-Fi access point

Xirrus introduced a new 802.11ac wireless solution at a price point which it claims brings the latest high-performance Wi-Fi standard to the mainstream today (11 March 2014).

While new generation technologies often command premium prices, as is the case with most of today’s enterprise 802.11ac solutions, the Xirrus XR-620 access point delivers the performance promise of 11ac at an 11n price.

The access point can be purchased at a low, entry-level cost as an 802.11n AP, then later software-upgraded to 802.11ac, allowing customers to spread Capex over time.

The new XR-620 AP addresses a wide range of wireless use cases where both cost and performance are important considerations. It provides flexibility through software-programmable radios that enable 2.4GHz or 5GHz operation at 802.11n and 802.11ac speeds on both radios.

Dual radio 11ac operation enables the XR-620 AP to deliver 30% greater 11ac performance compared with 11ac access points on the market today that are limited to only one 802.11ac radio due to their fixed configuration, the company stated.

"The XR-620 provides the ideal combination of performance and price," said Shane Moulton, CEO of Optix Media, a managed service provider that uses Xirrus wireless.

"When deploying wireless in student housing facilities, costs can add up given the sheer number of rooms and the enclosed nature of the buildings. This new Xirrus solution incorporates the latest 11ac Wi-Fi technology so we can deliver non-compromised performance at the right price point – and do it today."

The XR-620 represents the industry’s first 2x2 (2 stream) 802.11ac enterprise solution, capable of 867Mbps per radio. This represents almost twice the maximum 450Mbps speed available with 3x3 802.11n, yet the XR-620 is available at a lower price point than today’s fastest enterprise 802.11n solutions.

While discussing the client dependencies and issues in the 10 December 2013 research report Where, When and How to Deploy 802.11ac, Gartner analyst Jim Berenbaum stated: "Additional spatial streams require additional antennas — space is at a premium — and they also require significant additional power, both of which are difficult to achieve in a small and lightweight package."

With smartphones and tablets typically limited to 1x1 (1 stream) or 2x2 (2 stream) operation, the XR-620 represents a right-sized solution for supporting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)-centric environments.

“The insatiable demand for wireless continues to create new and more complex challenges for organisations everywhere,” said Bruce Miller, vice president of product marketing for Xirrus. “While new, higher-speed 802.11ac may help address some of these pain points, technology transitions can be disruptive.

“To help our customers with this, Xirrus offers a unique approach with a broad range of 11ac solutions starting with the new entry-level pricing of our XR-620 up to ultra-high performance of our wireless Arrays. Organisations scale at different rates, with vastly differing drivers. Today’s announcement helps accelerate the adoption of 11ac in the enterprise,” said Miller.

Example applications for the Xirrus XR-620 include:

  • Enterprises in a wireless refresh cycle that want to take advantage of the performance and power savings advantages of 802.11ac, but are sensitive to the costs to transition
  • Hotels refreshing wireless in their guest rooms to improve service quality that are looking for a long equipment lifecycle and cost-effectiveness
  • Organisations upgrading to 802.11ac with a range of use cases covering low to high user density and therefore do not need a premium solution everywhere
  • Enterprises with a high percentage of smartphone and tablet usage and that want to take advantage of the increased performance of 802.11ac as these devices adopt it.

The XR-620 extends the XR-600 AP family that includes the 3x3 11ac XR-630 AP with 2.6Gbps total bandwidth, 70% greater than competitive 11ac solutions. The Xirrus 11ac portfolio of solutions also includes the modular XR-series of arrays that scale from 2 to 16 radios to handle extreme user densities and traffic loads.

All Xirrus wireless solutions support an integrated controller and on-board Application Control providing visibility and control of over 1,200 applications.

Pricing and availability

The XR-620 802.11ac-capable access point starts at $675 (£406) and is available this month, March 2014.

 

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