Sunday, April 20, 2008

Meru's Latest AP Packs Four 802.11n Radios for Gigabit Performance

Meru Networks introduced a four-radio 802.11n wireless access point. Each of the new AP440's four IEEE 802.11n radios supports access at up to 300 Mbps, for 1.2 Gbps capacity. The four radios are backward-compatible with the legacy 802.11a/b/g standards, enabling the AP440 to simultaneously accommodate all types of old and new client devices. Each radio can be dedicated to a specific frequency band, allowing enterprise users to take full advantage of 802.11n performance. Meru is using a patented antenna design to allow multiple radios to operate simultaneously on different channels.

Meru reports seeing increasingly rapid adoption for 802.11n across a wide range of enterprises. The company said that because the four radios work together to provide internal redundancy, load-balancing and security, enterprise users can significantly reduce the number of access points and additional security sensors they need, realizing significant savings on cabling, connection and deployment/installation costs.

Meru has also added a new 4-Gbps Acceleration Module for its MC5000 controller, enabling an MC5000 chassis fully loaded with five of the modules to achieve throughput of 20 Gbps. Meru features a "virtual cell" architecture that automatically selects a single channel for use enterprise-wide, layering additional channels to increase capacity, security and/or redundancy. Up to four channels can be layered with the AP440. In contrast, the "micro cell" approach used by most legacy WLANs assigns different channels to adjacent network cells, necessitating frequent and disruptive client "handoffs" and requiring meticulous channel planning to avoid interference. Micro cell solutions also require additional wireless sensors to be deployed for security, increasing cable and power over Ethernet (PoE) port requirements as well as installation costs.

The AP440 Access Point is priced at $2,995 and the MC5000 4-Gbps Acceleration Module at $15,000 (U.S. list). Both products will be available in the third quarter of 2008.