The ink is barely dry on the final IEEE 802.11n standard, and already vendors are slashing their equipment prices to encourage wide-scale enterprise deployments.
It began when Aruba Wireless last month announced its AP-105, a dual-radio, 2x2 802.11n enterprise-class AP for $695, a price that undercuts anything seen in the enterprise 802.11n market for a dual-radio device. At the same time, Aruba also dropped the price of its 3x3 AP-124 and AP-125 products from $1,295 to $995.
Aruba says it was able to create the $695 AP-105 radio 802.11n AP by making tweaks to design, construction and feature sets. For example, the AP-105 sports a single gigabit Ethernet port while the AP-124 and AP-125 have two.
The AP-124 and 125 (which differ in that the 124 uses external antennas, while the 125 uses internal ones) will achieve slightly higher throughput than the AP-105, acknowledges Mike Tennefoss, head of strategic marketing. One reason is that, while all three devices support two spatial streams, the more expensive 3x3 devices have an extra antenna for improved diversity in interference-prone environments. Also, the AP-124/125 feature faster processors than the AP-105, he says.
Not to be outdone, Cisco is running a pricing promotion on its 802.11n 1140 dual-radio APs that will run until July 2010. A 10-pack of controller-based APs is $9,950, or $995 each.
The company also introduced a stand-alone mode for the 1140, available in a five-pack for $4,975 ($995 each) that can run unmanaged or be managed by Cisco's Wireless Control System (WCS) software without requiring a controller, says Greg Beach, a Cisco director of product management.
With 802.11n-capable enterprise-class APs at $995, the "big guys" are rivaling the pricing of aggressive Wi-Fi system makers Ruckus Wireless and HP ProCurve, which both have offered 11n APs for a list price of $999. In addition, Motorola, which announced its tri-radio AP-7131 802.11n indoor AP in March 2008, offers the AP in a variety of configurations. In a dual-radio, 3x3, two-spatial stream scenario, the controller-based AP began listing for $949 in May, according to Motorola.
Other Moto configurations include adding 3G cellular backhaul as the third radio ($1,299) and adding a wireless intrusion prevention services, or WIPS security monitor as the third radio, for $1,649, according to the company.