Meru to launch new AP device

LONDON – Wireless company Meru Networks Inc. has launched a new 802.11n Wi-Fi access point device aimed at the distributed enterprise. The AP1000i has been designed to give what the company calls a Wireless-Like-Wire experience for its customers.

In particular, claimed Meru, the product should appeal to organisations such as retail outlets with large numbers of remote offices but small numbers of dedicated specialist IT staff. AP100i buyers can also purchase the optional Service Assurance Manager which offers its customers better WAN availability and improved diagnostics. It works by creating virtual clients on existing access that act like a real, physical client and because of this Service Assurance Manager can actively track packets across the network.

Pricing starts at US$395 for a single-radio access point. The AP1000i will be availabe starting in December.
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Joe Epstein, senior director of technology at the Sunnyvale, Calif. company, said that there was a pressing need for wireless LANs to offer the same experience for users as wired networks did. “If wireless needs to grow, it needs to have the pervasive reliability of wired networks.”

The AP1000i has been designed to be simple to use and to be able to controlled centrally, while Service Assurance Manager would help guarantee consistent service. Epstein said that its strength was the consistent RF coverage that it delivers throughput an enterprise without any need for wireless experts to be on hand.

He pointed out that the days when organizations had dedicated wireless team are long gone and they are relying on IT staff who may not have the specific skills needed. “The staff don’t have the expertise to deal with RF,” he said, “They can learn the jargon but they can’t manage the nuances so you have to allow the network to do as much as possible. For example, they won’t know why you can be standing next to the AP and not get good coverage.”

Epstein added that the AP1000i also offered historical diagnostic so “if the line got disconnected, we can go back and find what dropped the phone.”

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