Meru pushes aggressive pricing on 802.11ac access point

Meru Networks hopes to jumpstart the market for 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology by pricing its first 802.11ac-compatible access point for enterprises at $1,295, which is only $100 more than the company's comparable 802.11n access point.

This was intentionally done so enterprise verticals looking at 802.11n might start considering 802.11ac today rather than eyeing it as a purchase for next year. "It's a slight difference from our .11n solution but provides three times the performance," said Dennis Huang, Meru's director of product marketing.

He alleged that while other vendors have been announcing 802.11ac solutions they have been conservative in pushing the technology and continue aggressively marketing their existing 802.11n product lines.

Meru's contends its new AP832 access point, which will ship next quarter, is the market's fastest 802.11ac access point, in part because its single-channel option, part of Meru's MobileFlex architecture, can support the use of 80 MHz channels as outlined in the IEEE 802.11ac draft specification.

Wider channels by default mean there are fewer channels to work with, said Huang. He alleged rival multichannel architectures from companies such as Ruckus Wireless, Aruba and Aerohive for the most part restrict support to 40 MHz channels so as to avoid co-channel interference. But that restriction has the effect of reducing data rates to about 600 Mbps, or about half of the 1.3 Gbps-per-radio that the 802.11ac specification allows.

By not using the full channel size specified in the standard, "you're really not getting what you've called out for in adopting 802.11ac," Huang told FierceBroadbandWireless. "It's really not serving the purposes of why you want people to migrate to it."

Meru's access point also includes two dual-band three-stream 802.11a radios capable of simultaneously transmitting on the 5 GHz band. This allows users to overlay 802.11ac APs on 802.11n networks to solve capacity problems in high density environments, said the company.

For more:
- see this Meru release
- see this Network Computing article

Related articles:
Wi-Fi Alliance says 802.11ac-certified devices will drive more Wi-Fi offloading
Broadcom sampling 802.11ac chips for entry-level devices
Growing WLAN demand sets stage for 802.11ac shipments