Faster Than Fast Ethernet

The physical layer data rate of IEEE 802.11n is 300 Mbps, but the improvement over the previous standard's 54 Mbps is even greater than this because more of the capacity is available to real applications and less is wasted in protocol overhead. The technology uses three main innovations:

  • MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) antennas send separate streams of data via different physical paths. With two different data streams in 802.11n, the potential data rate is doubled. Many non-Meru wireless system users find that this also increases complexity because multipath effects make coverage areas hard to predict. However, Meru's Virtualized Wireless LAN architecture eliminates channel planning, making 802.11n implementation a straight-forward deal.
  • Channel Bonding ties two 20 MHz radio channels together into a single 40 MHz channel, again doubling the data rate. Because Meru's Virtual Cell requires only one of these bonded channels for each layer of coverage, customers can use channel bonding in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands without interference.
  • Reduced Overhead throughout the protocol stack makes more air time available to applications. At the Physical Layer, new modulation options and shorter gaps between groups of bits transmitted increase the raw data rate beyond the consecutive doublings achieved by MIMO and channel bonding. At the MAC Layer, multiple frames are bundled together and the size of acknowledgement packets is reduced so that the network consumes less of the available capacity. Both of these efficiencies depend critically on a clear signal, which Meru ensures by operating every access point at full power.

Wi-Fi Alliance certified 802.11n clients support b, abg, and abgn, ensuring interoperability and high performance with Meru wireless LAN infrastructure.


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