A new provider of wireless local area network technology, Xirrus Inc., was formally launched Monday along with its Wireless LAN Array system, which integrates a wireless LAN switch and up to 16 access points into a single device.
The company was founded in 2003 by CEO Dirk Gates, who previously served as chairman and CEO of another company he founded, Xircom Inc., a maker of mobile computing gear. Xircom was acquired by Intel in March 2001. "We've been at this for 18 months and wanted to launch the company with a complete solution to offer customers," Gates said in a recent interview.
Xirrus' Wireless LAN Array system includes a 2-Gbps wireless LAN switch that controls the integrated access points, directional antennas, and tri-mode 802.11 a/b/g support for mobile devices. Additionally, the system can deliver up to 864 Mbits of radio-frequency bandwidth, which extends the coverage area and helps overcome some of the performance limitations found in existing wireless LAN architectures, Gates said.
Wireless LAN Array is offered in three configurations. Xirrus also offers an optional centralized-management platform for managing configurations in multiple unit and multiple site deployments, and a system that provides a 48-volt DC power source for remote power in the event AC power is unavailable.
Although it's important for companies deploying wireless LANs to maximize capacity, dense deployment of access points can be costly and difficult to manage, Gates said. "If companies are not planning for capacity, they will be faced with many challenges," he said. "That's why we created an architecture that provides 16 times the capacity because it uses nonoverlapping channels for integrated access points."
The Wireless LAN Array system is priced at $11,999 for a 16-port array controller with 16 integrated points, $6,999 for an eight-port array controller with eight integrated points, and $3,999 for a four-port array controller with four integrated points. Volume shipments of the system will be available in May.