Meru Networks, distributed by Core Networks in South Africa, has introduced the AP440, a four-radio IEEE 802.11n wireless access point. The product provides the data rates and functionality to let enterprises replace aging wired infrastructures with wireless networks without compromising access speed, throughput capacity, security or resiliency.
Each of the AP440's four IEEE 802.11n radios supports access at up to 300Mbps, for 1.2Gbps capacity.
Because the four radios work together to provide internal redundancy, load-balancing and security, enterprise users can dramatically reduce the number of access points and additional security sensors they need, realizing significant savings on cabling, connection and deployment/installation costs.
In addition to supporting the 802.11n standard, which is seeing increasingly rapid adoption across a wide range of enterprises, 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 has also added a new 4Gbps Acceleration Module for its MC5000 controller, enabling an MC5000 chassis fully loaded with five of the modules to achieve throughput of 20Gbps.
The ability to concentrate four high-speed radios in a single access point without introducing interference problems is made possible through Meru's patented antenna design, which allows multiple radios to operate simultaneously on different channels.
Deployment of large-scale WLANs with multiple channel layers is simplified by Meru's "virtual cell" architecture, which 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.
Anton de Jager, Core Networks MD and technology officer, says: "The AP440 takes a major step toward the 'all-wireless enterprise', signaling an era when throughput and functionality need no longer be sacrificed in the move from wired to wireless.
"By providing wired-like access speeds and user capacities while internally handling security and redundancy, the AP440 lets companies roll out demanding new applications with full assurance that the WLAN can handle them.
"Compared to an equivalent four-AP micro cell system – which would require extra cabling, more switch ports and separate security APs – the AP440 provides extremely cost-effective wireless coverage on a megabits-per-square-meter basis as well as lower overall cost-of-ownership.
"In the all-wireless enterprise, the ceiling is the new wiring closet," De jager adds. "When wireless is the primary means of networking, the ability to disperse access points on the ceiling rather than concentrating all wired networking equipment in a traditional wiring closet reduces heat dissipation issues and the need for cooling fans – critical considerations in an age of rapidly rising energy costs."
Key features of the AP440 wireless access point are:
* RF redundancy: One channel layer can be dedicated to redundancy for both bands. In case either the 2.4-GHz channel or one of the 5-GHz channels fails, traffic will still be delivered on the channel that supports both frequencies.
* Capacity: Four 802.11n radios together offer up to 1.2 Gbps capacity in a single access point; one radio is configured for 2.4-GHz operation and two for 5-GHz operation; the fourth is a dual-band radio for 2.4- and 5-GHz. Up to four channels can be layered, with all channels capable of operating at 40-MHz channel width.
* Security: The integrated dual-band 2.4-/5-GHz radio eliminates the need for dedicated "sensor APs" because it can scan for and mitigate rogue activity on all channels while simultaneously delivering traffic.
* USB port: This broadens application flexibility by allowing other ceiling-installed but non-802.11 devices – such as spectrum analysis systems, video surveillance cameras, public address systems – to be incorporated into the WLAN.
* Flexible omnidirectional antenna: An integrated antenna system simultaneously serves four layered a/b/g/n channels. Antenna casing is attached to base unit using a special hinge that allows the AP440 to be mounted on wall or ceiling, vertically or horizontally, with the antenna rotated in any direction.
Being introduced in conjunction with the AP440 is the new MC5000 Acceleration Module, designed for ultra-high-capacity deployments. One 4Gbps Acceleration Module can be plugged into each of the MC5000's five controller blades, boosting total chassis capacity to 20Gbps of throughput.
As traffic grows, users can incrementally add capacity while protecting their original hardware investment. The Acceleration Module is a field-upgradeable option for the MC5000 controller, a modular hardware system which provides centralized configuration and management for Meru 802.11a/b/g/n access points in large enterprises and branch offices.