Xirrus Breaks Down Classroom Walls in Boulder

The enterprise WLAN vendor will be providing the infrastructure for all 55 schools of the Boulder Valley School District.

August 3, 2007

1 Min Read
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Enterprise WLAN vendor Xirrus has apparently won the hearts (and pocketbooks) of the Boulder Valley School District as they will be providing the infrastructure for all 55 schools. This is a significant deal for a WLAN vendor that has eked out only a small market share with its unique poly-radio access point (AP).

Xirrus replaces a Symbol-based thin-AP network used in about half the schools that experienced capacity issues and a complicated deployment process, according to company spokesperson Chad Frisby. Because a Xirrus AP can support 4, 8, or 16 highly-directional radios in one physical shell, existing APs didn't need to be replaced on a one-to-one basis, reducing AP counts by 20 to 40% but increasing radio counts by 30 to 50%. And for schools without an existing WLAN deployment, Xirrus' solution reduces the number Ethernet drops that need to be pulled in what can be a challenging physical plant.

Many Wi-Fi infrastructure products stumble when in dense client scenarios, such as in adjacent classrooms with a full attendance. Instead of one radio serving all the clients, a Xirrus APs will likely cover that same client population with several beams, load balancing as necessary and able.

Traditional AP vendors have promoted microcells, but they suffer from co-channel interference which effectively reduces performance. It will be interesting to see pre-802.11n Draft 2.0 products, which support MIMO, will be able to overcome the co-channel and performance issues.

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