Aruba Launches Low Cost 802.11n APs


An enterprise access point with 802.11n for the price of 802.11g,the vendor promises

Wireless networking company Aruba is launching an Wi-Fi access point today, that it says will bring the cost of new 802.11n Wi-Fi devices for businesses down to the level of today’s wireless LANs.

The IEEE 802.11n standard can give a wireless network a throughput of more than 100Mbps, making it possible to replace wired office networks with wireless ones, saving cost, said Roger Hockaday, European marketing director for Aruba: “There have been products designed to meet the new standard for some time, but there have been two barriers: the high price of the faster products, and the fact that the standards was not ratified.”

With the fast standard now completed, Aruba is addressing the other barrier with a lower cost access point, said Hockaday. The new AP105 costs £654 +VAT ($695 in the US) which he claimed is half the price of 802.11n access points from Cisco, and similar to the cost of older 802.11abg access points


“802.11n is five or six times faster than 802.11abg, but it has been two to four times the cost,” said Hockaday. “We’ve removed the last hurdle by offering the best value 802.11n access point.”

There’s a trade-off, of course. This is a “2×2 ” device, meaning it can handle two streams of data using the MIMO (multiple-input-multiple-output) technology that gives 80211n its speed boost, instead of the three streams, which top-end 802.11n devices so far have aspired to.

That’s not a problem, said Hockaday: “You won’t see the difference in high-density carpetted spaces [which in wireless-L:AN-vendor-speak means “offices”]. 3×3 makes a difference at the endge of the wireless range, or in difficult environments.”

Aruba has also dropped the price of its 3×3 device, to £895 (or $995 in the US)

Overall, Hockaday said Aruba had conslidated its position as number two in the market behind Cisco, and already saw a jump in 802.11n shipments before the price cut – a claim which is backed up by market research firm Dell’Oro.

“Aruba shot up during 2Q09,” said chief executive Tam Dell’Oro, “and they could have shipped more. Their 802.11n units jumped from 28 percent to 33 percent of their shipments.” The company suffered supply shortages, otherwise it could have sold more, she said.

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