Colubris touts next-gen Wi-Fi access point

WLAN vendor claims its distributed architecture will allow businesses to exploit the full-performance of 802.11n, in contrast to centralised models

Colubris has revealed what it claims is the industry's first "intelligent, enterprise-class" 802.11n wireless LAN access point.

802.11n is a non-standardised radio specification which provides data transmission of up to 300Mbps — five times faster than the previous specification, 802.11g. Despite the fact that 802.11n is still in its draft stage, the Wi-Fi Alliance has begun certifying products which conform to the second version of the draft.

"Enterprises that we work with are already starting to feel the constraints of existing 802.11a/b/g technology as they add more applications to those networks," said Colubris's director of strategic marketing, Carl Blume. "As you continue to add more of those applications, you are going to require more bandwidth. 802.11n also adds better coverage capabilities to the network, so you get better performance, although that is a bit more difficult to quantify."

Blume suggested that Colubris's approach to wireless LAN (WLAN) architecture — distributed rather than centralised — would enhance performance. "WLAN architectures are a critical consideration for enterprises as they consider moving to 802.11n-performance levels," he said. "Many existing centralised switch architectures create a bottleneck in the network that limits total performance. When moving to 802.11n you're going to multiply the performance of your access points by a factor of four or as many as eight times, so a customer using one of those centralised switches is going to have to… either remove and replace the central controller to get the additional capacity needed for 802.11n, or augment that controller with another controller or switch. In contrast, Colubris uses a distributed intelligent architecture, which switches the client traffic at the edge of the network for a better performance."

Colubris claims that the "Always-n" technology featured in its 600 Series product family — the first member of which is called the MAP-625 — will allow simultaneous support for 802.11n and 802.11a/b/g client devices without hindering the 300Mbps performance of the newer standard. "Legacy devices won't compromise the performance for 802.11n clients using this technology," said Blume. "Customers that buy our solution today, even for an 802.11a/b/g network, are protected and can migrate smoothly to the new standard by simply changing their access point."

The MAP-625 will be available in the second half of this year, and will be priced at $999 (£500).


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