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Xirrus has launched a new partner program and is focusing more
heavily on building out a channel strategy while it launches its third
generation of wireless products, the XR Wireless Array portfolio.

According
to Steve Wastie, CMO of Xirrus, the wireless technology vendor is past the
startup point where companies take their products direct to customers and is
changing its go-to-market strategy. With an explosion in wireless devices
driving the Wi-Fi market, organizations are finding their wireless networks
bombarded with devices, which often causes wireless networks to get bogged
down.

As
Wastie explained, the traditional way of deploying a wireless network is to
throw up a bunch of two-way access points with static configurations and
centralized controllers. Xirrus is taking a different approach with the XR
portfolio, which is a modular, chassis-based approach to wireless network deployment.
Its XR access points are modular chassis that contain multi-state radios that
are expandable, upgradeable and have virtualized intelligence.

“Our
approach from the very start is you have to have a better way than throwing up
two-way radios everywhere,” Wastie said.

The
XR portfolio follows on the Xirrus XN portfolio of wireless access points,
which Wastie said were very dense, had the modular antennas that are also found
in XR products, but wasn’t as modular as the XR series.

Depending
on the model, the XR access points can house between four to 16 802.11n access
points with directional antennas (instead of omnidirectional ones). Directional
antennas provide more flexibility in where you send the wireless signal.
Customers also get to choose between 300Mbps and 450Mbps access points.

“We
have capacity out to the edge. We have the ability to do firewalling and IDP,”
Wastie said.

The
XR series was designed to fit into very dense environments, including
hospitality areas and convention centers.

 “It’s very modular and a combination of dense
radios, directional antennas and distributed intelligence,” he said.

Density
and capacity are becoming increasingly critical as the number of Wi-Fi-enabled
devices continues to increase at a rapid rate (something anybody who has felt
frustration over a Wi-Fi network going down at various conferences this year
can attest to). With the Xirrus approach, fewer devices need to be deployed,
but the performance is greater than wireless access points currently on the
market, Wastie said.

Additionally,
the XR modular chassis is easily upgradeable and the access points installed
within are field-replaceable.

“The
modularity enables us to just plug in a new radio when these things come
available,” Wastie said. Additionally, as the 802.11n standard is replaced in
time by 802.11ac and 802.11ad, the new access points can be easily dropped into
the chassis, he said.

“Modularizing
is a big deal for us. It’s a big deal for our partners,” Wastie said.

The
XR products were designed to deal with the issues facing various business right
now, including flexibility, coverage and speed of deployment, he said.
Organizations can’t predict how many devices will show up on their networks any
more than they can predict the weather, he added.

“We’ve
really hit this wireless tipping point where people are really just re-evaluating
how they deal with all these new devices and traffic growth. We think we’ve got
an interesting way of solving that problem,” Wastie said.