Today’s indoor Wi-Fi solutions often miss the mark when it comes to connectivity for large spaces. Now, the new Xirrus XA4-240 provides more controlled coverage for stronger connections.
As a frequent business traveler, I constantly worry I might somehow miss an email while my phone is turned off during a flight. So, like most other passengers, I feverishly catch up on work whenever possible, using my downtime on the tarmac or at the gate to finish overdue projects, answer emails, and manage my to-do list. Of course, none of this could happen without mobile devices or wireless internet. In fact, in some ways, a strong connection might be the most vital travel item of all!
It’s another sign of how connectivity has grown more pervasive than ever, as it becomes intertwined with every aspect of our lives – at home, in the office, at coffee shops and restaurants, and practically everywhere else. Whether it’s a family leaving town for vacation, or a businessperson headed to a conference, all travelers want the same thing: blazing fast connectivity at every stage of their journey.
Recognizing this demand, transportation planners worldwide have entered the fray, aiming to deliver connectivity to their passengers en masse. Take India, for example. Home to Indian Railways, one of the world’s largest rail systems, the country transports over 8.2 billion train passengers a year. Now, the nation has begun rolling out Wi-Fi across its nearly 7,500 train stations, from Delhi in the north to Chennai in the south.
It’s one thing to deliver Wi-Fi from an access point in a home closet or the corner of an office. But it’s a whole other thing entirely when that AP is located way up high on the rafters of an expo hall or rail station.
Indoor APs often struggle to provide connectivity in large spaces like convention centers and airports.
The distinction has to do with the way Wi-Fi sends data. Wi-Fi devices communicate using radio frequency (RF) signals, and these signals travel differently depending on where and how they’re emitted. Wi-Fi access points (APs) with omni directional antennas do not work well because they provide a spherical coverage area in the rafter while the users are 30 feet below. So directional antennas with proper planning is needed in such large spaces.
Ever notice how when you turn on a flashlight, you can illuminate more space by lifting the light further from the ground? The higher up you go, the larger the area covered by the beam. The same is true for Wi-Fi access points with directional antennas. When you situate these APs high above the ground (like you would in a large space like a convention center), their RF signals spread out further and cover more area. The larger the RF coverage area, the more devices your AP can connect. But a single AP radio can only support so many gadgets without affecting performance. Once the number of connected devices hits a certain threshold, connection speeds slow down and performance gets worse for everyone.
That’s the struggle facing convention centers and transportation hubs who hope to connect their users. Even retailers have encountered this challenge, as they adopt Wi-Fi-powered IoT solutions to track merchandise in large warehouses.
The Xirrus XA4-240, announced today, is specifically designed to address these challenges. An indoor AP engineered for large spaces, the XA4 comes equipped with a selection of external antennas that allow you to focus RF beams more narrowly, so you can control your coverage area even from very high up in the rafters. It also packs more radios in a single AP to support more devices.
The new Xirrus XA4-240
The XA4’s capabilities include:
- Support for 960 devices on a single AP – The XA4 comes equipped with four radios, double the number used by most vendors. The more radios you have, the more devices you can support without degrading performance.
- 16 concurrent MU-MIMO streams – The XA4 is the only product on the market that enables 16 devices to communicate concurrently, using 11ac Wave 2 MU-MIMO technology.
- Full 5GHz support – The XA4 radios are software programmable, enabling all four radios to operate on 5GHz simultaneously.
- Guest/BYOD/IoT access – EasyPass Access Services allow guests to self-register, submit vouchers, or use their Google/social media credentials as a way to connect, making access simple and painless.
- Choice of antennas – Design the coverage you need and the strength of signal you want from high up above with different options of external antennas.
Whether you’re providing connections for 15,000 conference guests in the keynote hall, 2 million daily passengers, or 50 tons of merchandise passing through a warehouse, the XA4-240 delivers the robust Wi-Fi you need for large indoor spaces.