Xirrus has introduced the new Wave 2 802.11ac solutions to the marketplace. “Wave 2” is the industry term for the latest, greatest Wi-Fi technology. And 2015 is the year Wave 2 begins its arrival into the enterprise, representing the seventh generation of Wi-Fi to be released since the first standard (802.11) was established back in 1997.
The functionality and performance bar for Wi-Fi rises with each new technology release, and Wave 2 is no exception. In fact, Wave 2 is the first Wi-Fi overhaul that shifts the technology from a purely shared communication medium to a switched one. For those of us who can remember, this is comparable to the transition from Ethernet coax and hubs, (which dominated in the ‘80s and early ‘90s) to Ethernet switches, which took over in the mid-‘90s. The move to a switched medium is a significant milestone for wireless technology, effectively replicating Ethernet wire switch functionality and enabling Wi-Fi to become the default connection for Internet capable devices.
With seven technology generations introduced in 18 years, the industry is averaging about three years between every new Wi-Fi overhaul. Yet the expected lifetime for networking gear is usually four to five years or more. This creates a conundrum for organizations that don’t want to fall behind the technology curve when upgrading their infrastructure. Of course, it’s a common problem with most technology – think about the last time you bought a smartphone, laptop, or smart TV. When the next generation arrives, it feels like you’re stuck with an obsolete brick!
When starting to design Wave 2 solutions, a core problem was to address the dilemma of technology obsolescence. Similar to how we provided upgrade paths to customers in the past, our new products put you on track to ensure a long product lifespan and a superior return on investment. Here are some highlights of what makes our Wave 2 solutions unique:
Twice the Wave 2– Unlike all other competitive solutions announced, Xirrus offers not one but two high-speed Wave 2 radios per access point (AP). You probably won’t need a lot of support for Wave 2 clients at first, since these devices have just started shipping. But in two to three years, they’ll become the majority of your clients. At that point, you can simply use our TurboXpress feature to reprogram your Xirrus APs for 100% Wave 2 coverage. The other guys? They’ll just make you buy more APs!
Full specs, full potential – Wave 2’s innovative capabilities include higher speeds and multi-user support (called MU-MIMO). Xirrus Wave 2 solutions support the full power of the new specifications, allowing four simultaneous MU-MIMO users and maximum speeds of 3.47Gbps per radio. Competitive products introduced so far only support three simultaneous users per radio, with top speeds of 1.733Gbps. That means our competitors will need to ship new AP hardware before they can deliver on Wave 2’s full potential. But with Xirrus, these capabilities are built into your solution from day one.
Maximum performance – Faster Wi-Fi is fantastic if you can actually realize the benefits. A common challenge with Wi-Fi is that the technology maintains backwards compatibility with earlier generations. That’s great for using your old devices, but bad if you want your new gadgets to run at full speed. With Xirrus APs, every radio runs on every Wi-Fi mode, both old and new. This setting can easily be applied through our network management software. Our acXpress feature automatically groups older clients together on their own radios, while doing the same for faster, newer clients. The result? Performance is maximized for all network users.