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Finally – the death of the 2.4GHz spectrum

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death of 2 4 finOn February 3rd, Cisco released a joint statement with Apple that  announced the death of the 2.4GHz spectrum. The 2.4GHz band, often referred as the Universal Band, was the primary spectrum leveraged when initial Wi-Fi standards were first introduced 17 years ago. Over the years, this spectrum has become jammed with traffic; it offers only 3 non-overlapping channels of which many devices and technologies make use.

2.4Ghz was the initial focal point for first to market Wi-Fi deployments. In 1999, the IEEE also created a Wi-Fi standard for operation in 5GHz which supports 24 non-overlapping channels with 8 times the capacity available in 2.4GHz.

What’s surprising about the Apple/Cisco announcement is the timing of this report. Cisco has been shipping access points (AP’s) for years with one fixed 2.4GHz radio and one fixed 5GHz radio. In contrast, for the past decade Xirrus has been shipping products with software programmable radios that enable customers to select 2.4GHz or 5GHz at the click of a mouse on any radio within an AP. (Xirrus is the only Wi-Fi company with a product line that offers a choice of 2-16 radios per AP with customizable spectrum per radio).This capability provides massive flexibility to customers and extends the lifetime of Xirrus customer Wi-Fi products up to 10 years. Not surprisingly, within 2 weeks of the release of this document, Cisco finally announced new AP technology that supports a form of software programmability for 1 radio with their AP.

What does this all mean? Well, Cisco finally has admitted 5GHz-only networks are the way forward. Therefore, it’s challenging to expect a customer to purchase an AP with 2 radios where 50% needs to be turned off! The move to an all-5GHz AP is a logical step, albeit one 10 years after Xirrus first pioneered this Wi-Fi offering. The real question though, is why stop at 2 x 5GHz radios in an AP? Why not 3, 4 or more??

The answer here is about return on investment. More radios equal more bandwidth and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – it’s that simple. Perhaps it will take Cisco another 10 years to catch up with Xirrus’ multi-radio technology!

Xirrus started delivering 802.11ac Wave 2 products to their customers in August 2015. Xirrus access points provide from two to sixteen (2-16) 802.11ac Wave 2 radios per AP. In an all-5GHz world where the number of devices are growing from 5Bn in 2015 to 25Bn in 2020, this massive form of scalability is the only solution that delivers Wi-Fi that will last customers 10 years or more.

Now, what else can we do for you? We’d be pleased to know how Wi-Fi can meet your needs now and into the future.

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