HP Delivers 900 Mbps Wi-Fi

By Sean Michael Kerner

March 01, 2011

New Wi-Fi access point from HP hits the top-end of bandwidth performance, but it doesn't (yet) clean the air.

Demand for Wi-Fi bandwidth continues to grow, which is why networking vendors continue to up the ante when it comes to Wi-Fi performance.

HP this week is announcing new Mobile Access Solution access points that hit a new top-end of performance in the HP portfolio. The new HP Wi-Fi access points can deliver up to 900 Mb/s of signaling capacity for enterprise users.

There are three new access points in total, including the dual-radio MSM460 and MSM466, which both have three spatial streams and 450 Mb/s per radio for 900 Mbs in total capacity. There is also the dual spatial stream SMSM430, which can deliver up to 600 Mb/s in total.

Jeff Schwartz, senior product manager for mobility and wireless at HP Networking told InternetNews.com MSM460 and MSM466 are 3x3 arrays.

"So that's three transmitters, three receivers and three spatial arrays to get to 450 Mb/s per radio," Schwartz said.

Schwartz explained that the two 450 Mb/s radios combine for the 900 Mb/s in total for the access point. While the total capacity of the new HP Wi-Fi access points is 900 Mb/s, users aren't likely to see that type of speed on their endpoint clients.

"The 900 Mb/s is the signaling rate," Schwartz said.

He added that HP's testing has shown the access points to be able to deliver 150 Mb/s of throughput on 802.11n at a distance of 230 feet. At a shorter distance of only 30 feet, Schwartz said that HP's testing has shown performance of up to 225 Mb/s of throughput.

Atheros Inside

Sitting underneath HP's new access point is silicon from Wi-Fi chip vendor Atheros. Atheros is currently in the process of being acquired by Qualcomm in a deal valued at $3.1 Billion. Schwartz noted that to date, the pending ownership change at Atheros has had no impact on HP's Wi-Fi products. He added HP differentiates itself from other Atheros users by virtue of the fact that HP is a complete networking vendor that provides more than just the wireless piece. Schwartz noted that HP also provides single pain of glass management which is also a key differentiator.

One thing that HP does not provide with its new access points is embedded technology to scan the air for interference. Cisco announced a technology called Clean Air in April of 2010 that enables an access point to analyze spectrum in an effort to get a better signal.

HP is planning on adding embedded spectrum analysis soon.

"The technology is built into the hardware today and it's on our roadmap to enable it, we just haven't had the cycles to do it yet," Schwartz said. "We do have RF optimization and management embedded in the chipset that we will enable over the next 12 months."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.



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