ZyXEL 802.11ac Access Points Aimed at Small Businesses

The ZyXEL Wireless Optimizer feature is designed to simplify AP planning, coverage detection and wireless health management.

zyxel and access points

ZyXEL announced the release of its WAC6500 series of high-performance 802.11ac WiFi business access points (APs) aimed at small- to medium-size businesses (SMBs).

The new units include the WAC6503D-S with 3x3 smart antennas, the WAC6502D-S with 2x2 smart antennas, and the WAC6502D-E with 2x2 external antennas.

The new series of products works in both standalone mode or can be managed as a group, using one of the company’s NXC series wireless local area network (WLAN) controllers.

"This upgrade cycle is fueled by the need for faster and more secure wireless networks as business applications are getting more bandwidth intensive and are being increasingly accessed via WiFi powered mobile devices," Steven Joe, executive vice president of channel business for ZyXEL Americas, told eWEEK. "The mobile devices being relatively low- power, businesses are also looking to upgrade to higher- output power APs to reach these mobile devices."

Each AP offers secure networking through Intra-BSS blocking, wireless layer 2 isolation, and Certified WPA2 Enterprise, and features multiple service set identifier (SSID) and virtual LAN (VLAN) capabilities, the company said.

"Many businesses have demands for visitors or guest network access," Joe explained. "Many are given access to the private network because there is no separate guest [network] that is segmented and firewalled through L2 isolation. Keeping the private network private and guest network isolated increases security for the network overall."

The company’s Smart Antenna technology computes and changes signal patterns dynamically to enhance accuracy over both frequency bands, and is designed to extend a wireless signal and reduce the number of APs required.

All three APs come ZON- supported, allowing administrators to streamline management through a variety of functions. ZyXEL AP configuration (ZAC) allows users to copy one profile to several APs.

"Increasingly WiFi networks are taking over from the wired counterpart as the primary network for connecting all the business users," Joe said. "This trends mirrors the reality that WiFi is becoming the sole medium of connectivity for a majority of client devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones."

He also noted the adoption of cloud services and bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives is making SMBs more productive by giving employees anytime-anywhere access to corporate information.

"Many employees are accessing the corporate data via their WiFi enabled mobile devices," Joe said. "This makes WiFi an essential productivity tool for businesses."

The Smart Connect function enables discovery and management of other ZyXEL ZON- enabled devices on the network, while the Wireless Optimizer is designed to simplify AP planning, coverage detection, and wireless health management. ZON and all its component features are free for ZyXEL customers and can be downloaded from the company website.

The products are available through ZyXEL authorized resellers. The WAC6503D-S is priced at $850, the WAC6502D-S is priced at $650 and the WAC6502D-E is priced at $615.