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Air Time: Cisco vs. Meru: You Make the Call

The past three weeks have been quite a rollercoaster ride for my co-author, Jameson Blandford, and me as we've dealt with feedback on our November 9 Network Computing article entitled "The Meru Chronicles." This article was the culmination of a six-month project involving the analysis of WLAN gear from Meru Networks.

As the name of the article implies, what started as a relatively simple effort to benchmark Meru against industry leader Cisco turned into a technical and journalistic adventure that included surprising performance findings, accusations by Cisco that Meru was violating standards, efforts on Meru's part to suppress publication, public responses to the article by Cisco and Meru, and lots of private and public reaction from readers and industry insiders. We've continued to search for better answers in this debate, and the final word hasn't yet been written.

For those of you who haven't read the article, you can find it here. The vendor responses that were added about two weeks after the initial publication are available here.

In addition to the previously published materials, we are making packet capture files of our Good Neighbor tests available, along with a detailed explanation of our test environment. We encourage wireless protocol experts to download and analyze these files, which are available in a zip file here.

As we stated in our article, we found Cisco's allegations that Meru wasn't playing by the rules of 802.11 to be credible. The source of the allegations included one of the original 802.11 designers, and we didn't find Meru's explanations of our test results to be satisfactory. We also weren't swayed by Meru's repeated contention that Wi-Fi Alliance Certification proves it is compliant with 802.11 standards. The Wi-Fi Alliance does not certify that products are compliant with 802.11, only that they successfully complete interoperability tests on the Alliance's test-bed.

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