HP starts selling speedy three-stream access points

For several years dual band wireless access points have been limited to delivering two streams of data.

However, a new generation of access points is starting to hit the market capable of pumping out three data streams per radio, giving almost gigabit performance on an 802.11n wireless device.

This week Hewlett-Packard Co. became the second manufacturer this year — and the first of the big equipment makers – to release a line of these units.

With the ability to deliver up to 450 megabits per second of data per radio, the dual radio MSM 460 and 466 access points “provide the highest wireless performance in the industry,” said Ron Fuller, vice-president of sales for HP Canada’s networking solutions.

Using new chipsets and beamforming technology with three MIMO antennas, these units can push up to 15 concurrent high definition videoconferencing sessions, HP says. Most dual-stream dual radio access points can only to 10 sessions, it adds.

Andre Kindness, an enterprise networking analyst at Forrester Research isn’t sure about the importance of that. Few organizations use their wireless LANs now for videoconferencing, he said. “People are talking about deploying video [on wireless], but that’s 12 months to three years away.”

However, he acknowledged that the higher throughout of this new generation of APs will allow more wireless connections in the enterprise.

HP won’t be alone for long with this technology, he added. Cisco Systems Inc. Aruba Networks and other wireless LAN makers will soon have products on the market. Last week Meraki Inc. announces its MR24 tri-stream access point. It carries a list price of $1,199.

By comparison HP’s MSM 460 – with six 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz internal antennas — and the MSM 466 – which can be connected to six external indoor or outdoor antennas and can run both radios on the 5 Ghz band – both list at $999. Both run off power over Ethernet connections. They are also 802.11 a/b/g compatible.
They measure 15.64 x 13.17 x 4.94 cm and come with ceiling mount clips.
For organizations using Mitel Networks Corp.’s SpectraLink cordless Wi-Fi phones and and NetLink SVP server, these models also prioritize SpectraLink voice packets for voice quality. Otherewise the units support up to 12 active VoIP calls at a time. 

The units use HP’s E-series Multiservice Controller and Mobility Manager 3.1 network management software to deliver a converged wired/wireless management solution, the company says.

That includes access control, user identification as well intrusion detection and prevention against rogue access points and clients.

“It’s good HP got the jump [on most competitors] and shows some innovation in their wireless space,” Kindness said. Since getting into wireless access points with the purchase two years ago of Colubris Networks, HP has let others lead in technology, he said.

Kindness expects the price of two-stream access points may drop as customers turn to the new technology.

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