Extreme Networks is rounding out its IdentiFi WiFi solution with the addition of 802.11ac outdoor wireless access points.
Extreme officials on May 20 announced the 3865 wireless LAN access point (AP), which combined with the indoor AP released in March gives what company officials said is a scalable offering that can be leveraged in indoor and outdoor environments, including such high-traffic areas as hospitals, hotels and sports stadiums.
Such capabilities will become increasingly important as more and more devices connect to WiFi networks, thanks to such trends as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), wearable technologies and the Internet of things (IoT), all of which are still just beginning. Much of the wireless traffic today—as much as 70 percent, according to the WiFi Alliance—travels over WiFi networks, and WiFi will continue to play a significant role in the future.
"The people and devices [connecting to the Internet], in terms of growth, is creating a bigger and bigger challenge," Mike Leibovitz, director of mobility and applications at Extreme, told eWEEK.
The proliferation of intelligent connected devices has made people more mobile and with that comes their expectations for simple and constant wireless connectivity, Leibovitz said. More than 1 billion such devices were sold in 2013 and more than 7 billion WiFi devices will ship within the next three years, according to the company. IDC analysts in April forecasted that more than 19 million wearable devices will ship in 2014, more than tripling the numbers sold in 2013. That number will jump to 111.0 million units in 2018, according to IDC.
"People more and more expect today that their WiFi is going to work and will be simple," Liebovitz said.
Extreme boosted its WiFi capabilities in September 2013 when it bought Enterasys Networks for $180 million. Through the deal, Extreme inherited a number of solutions, including the IdentiFi wireless networking solution. The company enhanced the technology with the release in March of the IdentiFi 3800 series 802.11ac APs, which they said offer three times the wireless performance of 802.11n as well as centralized real-time reporting, forensics, location and analytics. They also support the 802.3af Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) standards and active-active dual Ethernet ports for improved resiliency and performance.
The 3865 outdoor access point, which is available immediately, builds on the capabilities of the indoor AP by offering the same software capabilities and functions. The 802.11ac capacity includes three times over-the-air performance of 802.11n devices and the AP brings with it greater throughput with air-to-wire transition that supports 75,000 packets per second for both indoor and outdoor APs. Implementation is done through zero-touch AP initialization with new applications and services delivered via a single click, according to the company.
Leibovitz said the capacity is a key differentiator for the company, enabling Extreme to use fewer APs in such facilities like stadiums, easing implementation and management.