Extreme Networks is rolling out new 802.11ac Wave 2 APs. Wave 2 enables greater throughput than Wave 1, and incorporates additional enhancements such as multi-user MIMO.
MU-MIMO allows the AP transmit to as many as four clients simultaneously, providing better support for high-density Wi-Fi environments and more efficient use of available spectrum.
Extreme’s new access points are the AP3935, an indoor model; and the AP3965, an outdoor model. Both promise throughput of 2.5Gbps. Pricing starts at $1,195.
Extreme touts the “flow-based capability” of its new APs, in which the AP gathers a limited amount of flow data for each new flow conversation that occurs on the AP. It sends this information to a back-end system for analysis.
The goal is to identify applications in use on the wireless network to enable administrators to better implement and enforce WLAN policies around performance and security.
However, you’ll need to purchase additional products from Extreme to make full use of the AP flow data, including Extreme Analysis (formerly Purview), the company’s analytics platform.
Other features in the new APs include support for voice over WLAN, and HotSpot 2.0. HotSpot. 2.0 is a specification from the Wi-Fi Alliance that enables cellular providers to pre-certify W-Fi networks to enable users to automatically switch from a cellular network to a WLAN, allowing the user to save on data rates.
Wave 2 extends many of the enhancements that were introduced with the original rollout of 802.11ac, and those organizations that have yet to move off of 11n or older standards have the opportunity to migrate to the very latest standard.
Extreme Networks has had success with WLAN deployments at public venues, including football stadiums for the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, and Philadelphia Eagles.
In these types of deployments, thousands or tens of thousands of clients may access the network at any one time, so updates such as MU-MIMO will have the greatest impact here. Extreme is also targeting college campuses, hospitals, and similar deployments with large numbers of wireless users and devices.
However, it should be noted that no wireless client devices currently support MU-MIMO, which may take some of the urgency out of a rollout.