Riverbed announces first Xirrus release, with midrange 11ac Wave 2 AP

Riverbed also provides updates on the status of the Xirrus integration project into SteelConnect – and other integration points.

Bruce Miller, Vice President, Xirrus Product Marketing, Riverbed Technology

Riverbed Technology has made its first Xirrus new product announcement, with the new XD2-230 802.11ac access point that it says sets a new standard for wireless price-performance in the midrange. As of today, it’s still a Xirrus standalone product, as the Xirrus integration into Riverbed’s SteelConnect SD-WAN solution is not yet complete. It is due out later this year, with the XD2-230 – and all earlier Xirrus APs – becoming easily compatible with a software update.

“This is our first ‘Riverbed plus Xirrus’ product announcement,” said Bruce Miller, Vice President, Xirrus Product Marketing, Riverbed Technology. “We have put 11ac Wave 2 technology into a midrange platform at a very compelling price point, $USD 695. This brings a high performing, full-featured Wave 2 product into that midrange price point – without a price premium for the Wave 2. It takes the price- performance curve up to another level.”

The XD2-230 is a replacement for the for XR 600, an 802.11ac Wave 1 AP that has been Xirrus’ best selling product. The new AP can be managed from the cloud or on premise, providing an unlimited number of users with 3.9Gbps of total Wi-Fi bandwidth. It has three high performance software-defined radios, with the third being Bluetooth Low Energy. An integrated controller provides layer 7 application visibility, while reducing costs.

“We are stating that you can expect a 30 per cent reduction in TCO, but that number could be conservative,” Miller said. “With the integrated controller, there is less equipment and a more flexible design.”

The integrated controller also enables application-based policy control, providing visibility and policy enforcement.

“The application services are a fundamental part of the solution,” Miller said. “We were the first to put an application engine in the AP.”

The integrated controller also facilitates security services – Security: IDS/IPS, Firewall, Access Control –as well as location services through Location ID distributed in the AP.

“Access is made as simple as possible by the EasyPass SaaS solution, which integrates with Microsoft Azure and Google systems directly in the cloud for single sign-on,” Miller added.

Right now, the new APs aren’t available as part of SteelCentral, as that integration continues, but they will be once that is completed.

“You will then be able to pull them together with a simple software update – as well as Xirrus products that sold in the past,” Miller said. “There’s no need for customers who want them as part of SteelCentral to wait to invest. It will be a seamless process to switch over.”

Miller said that the integration continues to be a positive rather than a problematic one.

“Three months into it, we are seeing a lot of synergies between the companies,” he stated. “That was anticipated, and it’s why they acquired us in the first place. Riverbed was all about WAN optimization and we were all about Wi-Fi optimization, so pulling the two together is very synergistic. We use the same source stacks under the hood, and that makes policy management easier.”

Miller also emphasized that the integrations go beyond SteelConnect.

“We have talked about SteelConnect specifically, but our vision is much bigger than that,” he said. “We are in the process of processing the integration work pulling Xirrus into SteelConnect, and that will come out later this year. But we are also moving it into SD-LAN and have been looking at SteelCentral, with Q4 a likely timeframe for integrations. Over time, we also see even greater integrations for policy orchestration.”