A good number of companies play in the enterprise Wi-Fi market: Aruba Networks, Ubiquiti and Ruckus Wireless to name a few.  Enterprise Wi-Fi looks at markets that have dense casual user access but high levels of management therein, such as hotels, dormitories, hospitals, waiting rooms, office spaces and retail areas.  Last year Ganesh reported on Ubiquiti’s initial Enterprise Wi-Fi AP offering, and a year further down the line Xirrus got in contact regarding their 802.11ac AP line.  Xirrus’ offering comes from the point of view of upgradeability – buy an 802.11ac access point at 802.11n prices, but further down the line pay for a software update to enable 802.11ac access.  This method of delivering data would allow businesses to upgrade without the need to replace hardware as well as spread the cost of network upgrading.

The main product Xirrus got in contact with us about is the new XR-620 Access Point, designed to be the lowest-cost 2x2 802.11ac enterprise solution on the market.  This system is based off a Qualcomm Atheros SoC, and due to the dual stream nature the device is capable of 867 Mbps per radio.  This is compared to Xirrus’ 3x3 XR-630 that can manage 1.3 Gbps per radio.  The AP will have dual radios for 2.4 GHz/5GHz or dual 5 GHz operation, and be suitable for up to 240 concurrent users with four integrated antennas.  While there are two gigabit Ethernet points (802.3ad / link aggregation compatible), cloud based management comes part of the solution as well.  The XR-600 series comes with intruder detection and prevention systems with zero touch provisioning. 

Administrators controlling the AP will have access to Xirrus’ Application Control.  This software uses Layer 7 deep packet inspection to prioritize access of certain applications over others, with 1200+ applications being monitored.  While not explicitly mentioned, Xirrus does have dedicating meshing support on the 620.

Xirrus are bringing the XR-620 into the market at $675, with availability in March.

Source: Xirrus

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  • Flunk - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    $675 is cheap enough that you could buy one for home if you were sufficiently annoyed with Linksys, D-Link and the other SOHO junk makers. This might even be compelling if you can pick one up used in a few years.

    For business, I'm not sure that price is the biggest concern for people buying these.
  • wolrah - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    If you're a home user tired of the off-the-shelf stuff, why would you immediately go to something 10x the price when there's Ubiquiti sitting nicely in the middle with 802.11b/g/n for under $100, a/b/g/n for under $300, and a/b/g/n/ac for a bit more?

    I'm running a pair of UniFi b/g/n units and a pfSense firewall that even with a mere Celeron 1047 is way overpowered for my 75mbit/sec of combined WAN speed. Combine that with switch costs and I'm still short of $675 for an entire home network.

    Sure it's not Cisco territory, but it's still stupid expensive for a WiFi AP.
  • kenthaman - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    I agree, after reading last year's article about Ubiquiti I bought one of their uap-lr APs and even with only 2.4GHz b/g/n it still out performs my Linksys router running DD-WRT. I'm still routing via my Linksys, but I'm offloading the wireless responsibilities to my UAP. While I'm only experiencing marginally better throughput I no longer experience signal loss which was a common occurrence before with several different h/w models..
  • phoenix_rizzen - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    HP ProCurve (nee Colubris) MSM460 (450 Mbps 802.11a/b/g/n, dual-radio, 3 stream) is also under $500 CDN (so should be around $300-ish US) and can be used in either stand-alone mode (where you use the web GUI on the device to manage it) or controlled mode (which requires an external controller to manage).

    Why would you spend over $600 US on a device that requires using a cloud-based management interface that requires a working Internet connection to use?

    Ubiquiti is even less money for the hardware, the controller software is free but requires a separate server to install on, but they are constantly out-of-stock on everything.
  • Patrian - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    Cloud management is not required. Ubiquiti and Xirrus are not even in the same class.
  • Patrian - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    Xirrus is not aimed at the home user market. They are the leader for high density having the only access points on the market with up to 16 radios all capable of operating in the 5Ghz spectrum.
  • Patrian - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    Price is not the biggest concern.. However, this AP is more than price.. it is also performance. The Xirrus access points allow BOTH radios to operate in 802.11ac. Cisco's fastest AP is rated at 1.7Gb/s compared to 2.6Gb/s for Xirrus XR-630 and 5.2GB/s for Xirrus 2435.
  • Daniel Egger - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    Uhm, is that cheap? The seemingly much better Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC (1.3Gbps support) is available for ~$350 here.
  • Patrian - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    The Xirrus APs can operate BOTH radios in AC... Everyone else only gives you one AC radio...
  • Daniel Egger - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    Err, are you confusing concurrent operation with 802.11ac? The latter doesn't operate in 2.4GHz due to the 80MHz channel width requirement. The UniFi AP AC does support concurrent dualband operation BTW.

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