Linksys unveils MU-MIMO Wi-Fi access point for SMEs

LAPAC2600 is a small business AP supporting MU-MIMO technology designed to improve overall performance by providing dedicated bandwidth to devices as if they have their own dedicated router

US firm Linksys has announced the availability of its first MU-MIMO enabled 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi access point (AP) purpose-built for small business – the LAPAC2600 Linksys Business Pro Series, dual-band MU-MIMO AP.

Linksys claims to be first to market with a small business AP supporting MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple Output) technology, which helps improve overall performance and efficiency of a Wi-Fi network while providing dedicated bandwidth to MU-MIMO capable client devices as if they have their own dedicated router.

Current Wave 2 APs are designed for the needs of large enterprises and cost more than £1,000, making MU-MIMO unaffordable and out of reach for small businesses, the company said. At an RRP of £374.99, the LAPAC2600 is priced to provide the best value for resellers that cater to the small business market.

MU-MIMO is available in the next phase of the Wi-Fi 802.11ac (Wave 2) standard and provides higher bandwidth and greater throughput for wireless networks. With MU-MIMO, the entire office can simultaneously video conference, download large e-mail attachments and media content, sync large files from local fileservers or cloud storage service, stream presentations – without lag or buffering.

“The consumption of Wi-Fi in the office is growing rapidly and places heavy demands on wireless networks today. A robust network infrastructure is necessary to deliver bandwidth-intensive applications such as IP communications and HD Video,” said Nandan Kalle, director of commercial networking, Linksys.

“MU-MIMO is a game-changing technology that improves overall performance and efficiency of a Wi-Fi network, bringing tremendous benefits to businesses such as improved collaboration and employee productivity.”

The new Linksys MU-MIMO access point is targeted at high-density environments where congestion issues are prevalent such as bullpens, open workspaces, and conference rooms. With the additional network capacity and higher data rates available with MU-MIMO, small businesses no longer have to suffer network performance issues and can give employees and customers a superior user experience, according to Linksys 

LAPAC2600 features

The LAPAC2600 features 4x4 dual-band AC (2.4+5GHz) delivering combined speeds of up to 2.53Gbps (depending on a variety of factors) to multiple connected devices, for faster, more robust wireless performance. Deployment and management of the AP is easy through an intuitive web interface, support for PoE+, clustering, and advanced security features help to protect and secure wireless networks. Key features and benefits include:

• Next Generation AC Wi-Fi Connectivity – allows multiple clients to transmit data simultaneously, improving performance and productivity in high-density wireless environments.

• Clustering (single point control) – enables small businesses and IT Administrators to manage up to 16 APs through a single interface without a WLAN controller.

• Captive Portal (Secure and customised guest Wi-Fi access) – a fully customisable landing page for businesses to welcome visitors and provide wireless access in a branded environment that is separated from the core business network.

• Flexible Deployment – can be deployed as a typical access point, as a wireless distribution system (WDS), or as a workgroup bridge to extend your wireless range coverage.

• Easy to Use with PoE+ – integrated with 802.3at PoE+ capability to eliminate extra power adapters and offer optimal placement. It also provides an intuitive Web administrative interface, easy to set up and easy to use.

• Advanced Security Over Wireless – includes Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2), 802.1X Supplicant Authentication, MAC and IP-Based ACL, Rogue AP Detection, SSID-to-VLAN Mapping, Wireless Scheduler, and more.

• Beamforming – is designed to precisely adjust, steer and monitor the direction and shape of the Wi-Fi signals for better performance.

In the BYOD world, SMB users are bringing MU-MIMO enabled handsets and tablets to work – driving the demand for MU-MIMO in the business. According to a white paper by ABI Research: The Importance Of Mu-Mimo In The Wi-Fi Ecosystem, more than 84% of all wireless 5GHz chipsets will be MU-MIMO enabled by 2019. 

Kalle continued: “Given the replacement cycle of APs and the influx of MU-MIMO-enabled clients coming on the market, it only makes sense to deploy a network that supports them, or a small business runs the risk of negatively impacting company operations and giving employees and customers a degraded Wi-Fi experience. With MU-MIMO, small businesses can relieve congestion today while future-proofing their networks for tomorrow.”

A pioneer of MU-MIMO products, Linksys claims to have the largest and broadest portfolio of MU-MIMO home Wi-Fi solutions on the market and is now incorporating the technology into its business-class wireless access points. Even legacy devices in the office can take advantage of MU-MIMO with the Linksys USB MU-MIMO Adapter. 

Linksys MAX-STREAM AC600 USB MU-MIMO adapter (WUSB6100M) 

The Linksys AC600 USB Adapter is the first MU-MIMO enabled adapter on the market. It enables users to connect their laptops and computers to a MU-MIMO access point for optimal performance, so users can easily stream high-definition video and make VoIP calls. Additional features include:

• AC Wave 2 - MU-MIMO (AC433/N150)

• Beamforming for more reliable connections

• USB 2.0

• Simple plug and play setup

• Works with Any Wi-Fi Router; Optimised with Linksys Max-Stream solutions

Pricing and availability

The LAPAC2600 Linksys Pro AC dual-band access point is immediately available at a RRP of £374.99 through major distributors and resellers. SMBs and resellers can find a participating distributor at this website: http://www.linksys.com/gb/wheretobuy/distributors/

The Linksys AC600 MU-MIMO USB Adapter (WUSB6100M) is immediately available at a RRP of £24.99 at Linksys.co.uk and at leading retail and online retailers.

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