802.11ac Wave 2 is still in early adopter phase, but more medium and large sized customers are asking about it, so Xirrus has unveiled two new dense solutions aimed at use cases like conference centres which have large numbers of Wi-Fi users.
Thousand Oaks CA-based wireless networking vendor Xirrus has expanded its portfolio of high-density Wave 2 Wi-Fi solutions with new four and eight-radio high density 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi access points, adding to the two radio units they introduced last year.
Wave 2 – the next generation and successor standard to 802.11ac – is still limited to the high end of the market, but will – at some point – become the new standard. It is faster that its predecessor, and lets multiple users communicate at once to the same AP on the same radio, eliminating the waiting for access which is an issue with the 802.11ac standard.
“Today, in the overall global market, Wave 2 is still a relatively small percentage of business, according to the analysts,” said Bruce Miller, VP of product marketing at Xirrus. “A lot of this business ships into smaller businesses, who have less need for the benefits Wave 2 offers, and no interest in the price premium it costs today. But for the types of customers making longer term investments in their technology, and who are not as concerned about price, we have seen adoption ramp up. Well over 50 per cent of this market ask about Wave 2 – although that doesn’t mean that they will buy it.”
Xirrus was a relatively late entrant into the Wave2 market, coming into it last summer with the XD2-240 Access Point, a two radio model. Their logic was that the market was still too immature previously, resulting in few clients on the market supporting the standard, and chipsets in early devices being unable to fully use its features.
“We are now expanding and broadening out our Wave 2 product line with the new four radio [XD] and eight radio [XR] models,” Miller said. “These are geared to the medium to higher ends of the market, and are high density solutions, designed for use cases where they have lots all people all connecting in one place – medium to large size enterprises, schools and large public venues.”
Customers buying at this point in time are still purchasing something of a future-proofing solution, although that future is getting closer.
“We still don’t have Wave2 on our lowest end products, as there is still a price premium,” Miller said. “It is nearing broader option in the medium to high end of the markets, however.” The new models are, however, designed to work with existing infrastructure, with one-click migration to a 100 per cent Wave 2 network when needed.
The XD and the XR models also both offer the full spectrum of Wave2 features on the AP radios, each of which are capable of up to 3.47 Gbps and four-stream multi-user MIMO.
“Use cases for Wi-Fi are extremely varied, and these are for those very specific dense use cases, and where today a customer like a convention centre would want this technology to establish a competitive differentiation,” Miller said. “It’s also a lot easier and less expensive for these high capacity venues to put in two eight-radio XRs than 16 competitor single radio units.”
Miller said that the move of the Wi-Fi world towards the higher 5 GHz spectrum is another reason customers should invest in Wave2.
“These Wave2 devices all support the new higher speed capacity,” he said. “Phones today can support 5 GHz. “It’s the existing infrastructures that don’t support it.”