Meru looks to make Wi-Fi as reliable as Ethernet

Meru CEo Ihab Abu-Hakima talks about Wi-Fi networks and how it differs from rivals Aruba, Cisco and Trapeze.

On Monday, Meru Networks announced virtual ports, a technology designed to make Wi-Fi networks as reliable as wired Ethernet. IDG News Service interviewed the CEO of Meru, Ihab Abu-Hakima, on a visit to London.

Meru's product controls wireless access points centrally, to support wireless LAN access throughout a building, but the company has championed a different approach from rivals Aruba, Cisco and Trapeze (now owned by Belden). Its virtual cell architecture puts all the access points on the same channel, and holds all the BSSIDs (Wi-Fi's equivalent of a MAC address) centrally. The company has now added the ability to partition the network so each client gets the equivalent of a wired network port.

Abu-Hakima formerly worked at Western Multiplex, a wireless company bought by Proxim, where he became a senior vice president. He joined Meru in 2004, just as the wireless startup was beginning to deliver products.

What is the story behind the Meru architecture?

The first centralized wireless LAN controllers dealt with the problem of managing and securing access points. Meru said that is not enough. Sooner or later, most enterprises will be running on wireless, and that means tens of thousands of devices, with users wanting an interactive experience including real-time applications such as voice.

The 802.11 specification was designed for standalone access points, providing best-efforts communications. When two access points are put together, it produces co-channel interference.

Legacy Wi-Fi controllers solved this by putting each access point on a different channel. Meru's founders came out of the cellular space, and that seems inefficient to them, as the most precious resource is spectrum.

In legacy Wi-Fi, the client has control of its connection to access points, but in cell-phone networks, the infrastructure has control. All the base stations are on the same channel and managed centrally. It has to be that way, to deliver quality of service and mobility for every user.

What does this do for users?

It completely changes the rules in wireless networking. With legacy wireless LAN equipment, network staff have had to do wireless site surveys, and monitor and adjust power levels and channels of wireless LAN equipment. With virtual cells and virtual ports, It gets those resources back and can apply them to other opportunities.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags meruWi-Fi

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Judge

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?