Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

HP touts greater capacity of new 11n Wi-Fi access points

John Cox | March 1, 2011
Hewlett-Packard's new 802.11n Wi-Fi access points include two models that support three data streams, capable of yielding a data rate of 450Mbps per radio, or 900Mbps per access point. That translates into greater throughput, sustained over longer distances, compared with products that use two data streams.

About 5% of the 22,000 faculty, staff and students are regular Wi-Fi users, according to Joshua Krek, senior network administrator with the college's Office of Information Technology.

Last year, the college deployed a mix of all three new access points in high-use areas of the main campus, such as the student union building. There were eight in the beta test: the entry-level 430, the 460 with built-in radios, and the 466 with exterior antenna mounts, the latter for a mesh deployment covering some outside spaces.

Glendale's tests found that a single Wi-Fi client, a laptop, could easily see sustained throughput of "well over" 200Mbps per radio, or more than 400Mbps for each access point, for the 460 and 466 models, Krek says. That meant more throughput could be shared among the 20-30 clients typically associated with each access point.

And the throughput stayed high, and reliable, over much longer distances than before. The exterior mesh using the 466 models "still came close to 200Mbps" over a distance of about two football fields, roughly 750 feet. That was an almost ideal deployment: straight line-of-sight with no obstacles.

As are a growing number of WLAN vendors, HP has introduced with the newest 11n access points several radio optimization features that optional in the 802.11n standard. These include:

- Beam forming: Based on information from the client radio, the access point can adapt its transmit beam signal for a specific, individual client, optimizing the connection.

- Band steering: The access point can detect whether the client radio can run in the 5GHz frequency; if so, the access point can shift that client from 2.4 to 5GHz automatically. The higher frequency has more non-overlapping channels, can offer a larger number of combined channels for maximum throughput, and has less interference than 2.4GHz.

In addition, the 466 model, with exterior antennas, can support what HP calls "concurrent radio operation" in the 5GHz band, meaning both radios can be set to run in that band, without interfering with each other.

All three of the new products can support full 11n features and performance over existing 802.3af power-over-Ethernet infrastructures, according to Roger Sands, director of mobility solutions for HP Networking.

Mobility Manager 3.10 includes a range of improvements, many of them focused on client tracking and trouble-shooting, according to Sands. Network administrators now can see a history of a specific client's locations, and correlate those with Wi-Fi performance metrics, for example.


Previous Page  1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.