Startup Xirrus Aims To Simplify WLAN Rollouts

Xirrus' Wireless LAN Array family integrates a WLAN switch and up to 16 access points into a single unit, making the technology easier to deploy and manage than other wireless solutions, said Dirk Gates, CEO of Xirrus, Westlake Village, Calif.

"It gets very difficult to deploy a dense sea of [access points] and manage the RF spectrum so they work well together and don't interfere with each other," he said.

With Xirrus, solution providers can roll out WLANs using one-quarter of the devices typically required, he said.

The company plans to follow up its launch with the debut of its PartnerAdvantage channel program in the next few weeks, Gates said.

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High-bandwidth applications such as video and voice over WLAN are driving the need for increased wireless capacity, which Xirrus' technology could help meet, said Kim Paul, CEO of KPN Networks, a solution provider in Ventura, Calif., that plans soon to begin testing the new products before deciding whether to join the program.

"Clearly, the application is going to drive this market entirely," she said.

The new WLAN Array products feature two-port Gigabit Ethernet switches and deliver up to 864 Mbps of capacity across up to 16 non-overlapping channels. They also support security and quality-of-service features. They will be generally available in May.

With an 18-inch diameter, the XS-3900 is the largest of the models, featuring a 16-port array controller with 16 integrated access points. The array controller provides the same functionality as a typical WLAN switch. The access points use overlapping RF patterns to provide redundant coverage and include 12 802.11a radios and four 802.11a/b/g radios.

The XS-3700 has an eight-port array controller and eight access points, and the XS-3500 has a four-port array controller and four access points. A management appliance is available in three models and supports up to 500 WLAN Arrays. A remote DC power system is also available.

The WLAN Arrays range in price from $4,000 to $12,000.