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New Wi-Fi gear aims to wipe out Ethernet edge switches

John Cox, Network World | May 9, 2011
Meru's new Wi-Fi gear combines a trio of powerful 802.11n radios with a battery of new software that together will let enterprises replace wired Ethernet at the network's edge, the company says.

A second is called Distribution Mode, which Meru proposes to replace or at least reduce the racks of wiring closet switches. In Distribution Mode, AP400 becomes an aggregation point (or "root AP" in Meru lingo) for other access points in the network, via Meru's Wi-Fi meshing software. They pass their traffic wirelessly back to these aggregators, which can offer 900M to 1.8Gbps of backhaul capacity depending on the number of radios. The aggregator has a Gigabit Ethernet port to a higher-end, aggregation-level Ethernet switch.

A third new service is a patent-pending technology called Orthogonal Array Beam Forming (OABF). WLAN vendors over the past two years have been adding support for various optional parts of the 11n standard, (see from May 2010, "Major Wi-Fi changes ahead") including transmit beam forming (sometimes "beamforming"). The same waveform is sent over 11n's multiple antennas, with the magnitude and phase adjusted at each transmitter to focus the beam direction toward a particular receiver. This increases the signal's gain so it's more stable, and can be "steered around" interferers so it's more reliable.

 

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