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Meru Readies 802.11n Products

Meru has gotten out in front of the competition by announcing its 802.11n product plans. As we've reported before, while 802.11n is arguably the most significant wireless standard ever developed, enterprises will face many challenges implementing the technology, including coexistence with legacy 802.11a/b/g protocols and performance impact on wired network infrastructure. The performance/capacity issue will be especially challenging to organizations that have centralized all their WLAN controllers, especially if their wired Ethernet infrastructure isn't significantly overprovisioned. Meru's 3TDS architecture is an effort to separate data and control planes, distributing controllers closer to the edge and reducing the amount of wireless traffic that must be channeled back to the core over the Ethernet infrastructure. In some respects, it is similar to network designs developed by Colubris and Trapeze that push more wireless intelligence out to the edge of the network, though Meru's layered-channel, coordinated access design is unique amongst first- and second-tier enterprise WLAN providers. Meru's design has significant appeal, but market success will depend on whether the company can deliver a bulletproof reliable product offering, something Meru has struggled with in the past.
Dave Molta
Contributing Editor

Meru Networks last week announced products based on the IEEE 802.1n draft specifications, in a race to become the first wireless vendor to support this important new standard.

The new products build on Meru's existing Air Traffic Control technology to enable 802.11n capabilities. Meru's 802.11n product suite includes the AP300 family of dual-radio 802.11 a/b/g/n access points; the MC500 chassis controller for managing up to 1,000 access points each; and the 3-Tier Traffic Distribution System, to improve management for the increased network load driven by 802.11n.

Meru said its 802.11n architecture delivers key advances, including the ability to deliver a sustained wireless capacity throught a WLAN deployment, as well as capabilities to let IT more easily compensate for coverage holes and fluctuating data rates while maintaining high network performance. Performance is optimized by assigning the best physical access point to each network client and operating on a single-channel span, which results in simplified coverage and channel planning, the vendor said.

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