Meru Networks recently announced the availability of the OAP433e, a new outdoor Wi-Fi access point that provides more than 10 times the data throughput of the company's previous outdoor access points, according to an executive for the vendor.

With smart devices becoming increasingly ubiquitous — and many users carrying multiple devices — the data-throughput demands on Wi-Fi access continues to increase substantially each year, said Kamal Anand, Meru Networks' vice president of product management. By leveraging a three-radio, three-stream design, the OAP433e access point delivers 1.3 GB/s throughput in its coverage area. As a point of comparison, Meru Networks' previous outdoor access point provided data throughput of about 108 MB/s, he said.

"We've done two things," Anand said. "We've enhanced the actual capacity by having radios that can be more powerful, from a capacity and throughput perspective. Secondly, we combined three radios in one access point, so we could deliver more RF capacity in every area ... So, at a more cost-effective point, you can deliver much higher capacity in these outdoor public areas, like campuses, conference centers, stadiums, etc."

Another key feature of the OAP433e is that it works in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz unlicensed bands. In fact, the access point is software programmable to provider network engineers with flexibility to address potential changes in user patterns in the future, Anand said.

"A customer could start with having two 2.4 GHz channels and one on 5GHz, so they can address the needs for today," he said. "But, let's say in about two years — when a lot of the devices start having 5GHz capability — you might see a movement of users from 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz. Because it's all software programmable, you can then change your network to have two channels on 5 GHz and you can dedicate one channel to 2.4 GHz for the legacy devices.

"So, it gives the customer the flexibility of putting hardware in today that can migrate the channel capacity between those two bands as the type of devices and users change over the next couple of years. It's a subtle point, but it gives a lot more control to the IT managers deploying this product."

At a cost of more than $2,000, the OAP4333e is several hundred dollars more than the current Meru outdoor access point, but the OAP433e delivers more than 10 times the data throughput. The product is available immediately, Anand said.