Now Extricom cracks the 802.11n problem?

Extricom - the latest company to stop dodging Draft N - returned to some classic themes as it embraced the emerging fast Wi-Fi standard.

The new access point announced today manages to get four radios in, two of them running N, apparently well under the 12.95 W power limit of today's Power over Ethernet, while other vendors are struggling to do two.

The reason is that Extricom's system is a bit more like distributed antenna system - there's virtually no processing in the AP.

Extricom vice president David Confalonieri wouldn't be David Confalonieri if he passed up a chance to diss the competition, and he returned to the alleged shortage of channels in the 5GHz band.

The 5GHz band is supposed to help out by allowing more channels than the three non-overlapping ones in the 2.4GHz band where today's Wi-Fi operates. Last year, Confalonieri told us there might only be three non-overlapping channels in the 5GHz band, a claim which we think was FUD.

This week, he's accepted there are more channels, but is still warning that 5GHz won't solve everything. Even with that many channels, cell-planning may break down because of the range of 5GHz MIMO Wi-Fi. If it's operating at high speed, it'll have a higher range to pollute other cells, he says: "If you were under the illusion that you had channel reuse before, you really don't have it now."

It's a viewpoint - but it's a very convenient one for Extricom, and one that really doesn't seem to trouble other vendors, who are happily putting 802.11n APs in user sites.

Interestingly though, the vendor that seems to have the most 802.11n customers is Meru, which announced its 50th taker, Wayne State University. Now, Meru supports blankets, but I understand also supports cellplanning. I wonder how many blankets there are in its fifty N customers?

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