A large-scale Wi-Fi device that contains sixteen Wi-Fi access points has arrived in Europe - bucking the trend towards consolidation in the wireless LAN market.
Xirrus puts four, eight or sixteen access points in one box, instead of distributing them through a building, like systems from Wi-Fi vendors such as Cisco or Aruba. Each one reaches out further, covering a sector of the building thanks to a directional antenna (Read our review of the system).
"Thin access points don't scale," said John Digiovanni, Xirrus' director of marketing "Our approach is simpler and maximises the bandwidth and coverage."
Despite fears that the higher power density created by a sectorised antenna might break European radio regulations, Xirrus has got European approvals, as Digiovanni promised last year, and will be sold in Europe by Seicom of Germany.
Although a sectorised Wi-Fi system might seem daunting, the popular Wireless Valley RF management product supports it, said Digiovanni. The system is designed to work off a DC adapter, or else from systems that deliver 48V DC over Cat 5 cable: "Dedicated Cat 5 cables for power are quite common in the telco world," says Digiovanni. "Anyone can pulla Cat 5 cable, and you don't need an electrician."
The system will be sold by wireless infrastructure company ADC as part of its in-building wireless range.
Xirrus also got some venture capital funding - from US Venture Partners and August Capital. Thus far, it has been funded privately, by the founders, who previously ran Xircom, a networking start-up bought by Intel.