We at Meru predicted faster adoption from day one for following reasons:
1. 802.11ac is a well proven incremental technology
11n introduced the concept of MIMO which was brand new and unproven. 11ac, on the other hand, achieves faster speeds by using better encoding (256 QAM) and wider channels (80 MHz). The risk in using these incremental techniques was minimal, leading to faster roll out and adoption.
2. 802.11ac equipment is expected to have double the life of 11n
Wi-Fi has become the primary access network with most enterprises seeing their WLAN traffic doubling year over year since the introduction of the iPad and dawn of the BYOD era. Smart enterprises have starting planning three year ahead rather than building WLANs to meet today’s needs. Three years from now most enterprise devices will be 11ac and will require replacement of 11n technology. However, 11ac network deployed today are expected to support capacity needs for next 6-7 years.
3. 802.11ac Access Points are priced only slightly higher than 11n
The chipset prices for 11ac have come down much faster than 11n resulting in 11ac access point commanding only a slight premium over 11n. Vendors including Meru view 11ac as an opportunity earn new business and have priced their products aggressively. This is allowed Meru to accelerate migration to 11ac and achieve #3 market share position behind Cisco and Aruba according to Q1 2014 Dell’Oro report.
Meru has seen faster adoption than other vendors for some reasons unique to Meru.
1. Architecture that uniquely supports Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds enterprise wide
To take full advantage of Gigabit speeds in enterprise environment, use of 80 MHz wide channels is required. Most vendors need a minimum of 3 channels for enterprise wide deployments. However, there only two unrestricted (non-DFS) 80 MHz channels available. Meru’s MobileFLEX architecture offers a single channel, virtual cell option that uniquely allows enterprises to deploy 80 MHz channels and achieve Gigabit speeds even when only one 80 MHz channel is available.
2. Meru uniquely supports full 11ac speeds on standard Power over Ethernet (PoE)
Other vendors require PoE+, which can trigger expensive wired switch upgrades and pulling new cable.
3. Meru has taken cost out of consideration for moving to 11ac
To allow as many enterprises as possible to experience benefits of Meru technology, Meru has priced its 11ac products at prices comparable to 11n solutions. In addition, Meru has an aggressive trade-in promotion in place allowing businesses to trade-in their existing access points and get Meru’s newest 11ac AP.