Innovation across the board has always been the hallmark of the wireless-LAN industry, and users might think that, more than 20 years on, they'd have everything they need at this point. This is not so – innovation continues at a remarkable pace.
Two examples of this fact surfaced this week, with significant advances from industry leaders Motorola Solutions and Meru Networks.
Meru Networks announced a new AP family, the AP400 Series, a platform that can have up to four radios (three internal and one added via a USB port), with each being three-stream, or capable of up to 450Mbps each – yes, that's 1,8Gbps peak in a single AP.
Users may be wondering if anyone really needs that much capacity, and they will recall when 802.11b jumped all the way to 11Mbps from the 1 and 2Mbps which had been common to that point – same set of questions then, too.
Users can never have too much capacity, given the growth in number of users, application demands, and the increasing popularity of time-bounded services being seen essentially everywhere these days. Meru also notes a reduction in the need for Ethernet ports – a good point, as the economics of the enterprise LAN inevitably shift to a majority share for wireless.
Motorola has introduced a new high-end controller, the NX 9000. While this box is capable of handling up to 10,000 APs, of greater interest is its eventual evolution from controller alone to platform for applications.
As controllers are basically single-board computers running specialised software, why not host that software on a platform capable of much more? And, indeed, Motorola is going to move in this direction over time.
With reference to the controller functionality, as users saw with Bluesocket's approach to controller virtualisation with an increasing number of sites using their own VM-based servers running WLAN controller software, there will still be those who prefer an appliance, and that's what Motorola is providing here – but with the potential of scaling to enormous capacity and new utility.
Motorola also rolled out a number of new indoor and outdoor APs.