Thursday, March 3, 2011
HP has launched a new series of access points through a combined development effort with the HP/Colubris development teams. The new access point model numbers are the E-MSM460, E-MSM466 and the E-MSM430.
HP's goal is to bring a 'single pane of glass' management capability to the wireless and wired networks through integrating the HP Mobility Manager 3.10 into the existing IMC solution. Mobility Manager can be a plugin to an existing PCM+ installation.
The biggest news to me was the AP MSM466, which is capable of concurrent radio operation in the 5GHz band. This allows the access point to increase the channel capacity to double the supported client count in high density deployments. This published statistics for this access point indicates a maximum performance of 450Mbps per radio. Using two 5GHz radios in an access point is interesting, but there are still a lot of 2.4GHz clients in use on most every WLAN. Having all your clients in a specific area being only 802.lla devices may be a reality for some enterprise deployments, but I'd bet that most have a wireless client mix that can't be controlled or influenced by the IT department.
The HP mobility line can support different modes of operation - AP, Mesh and Monitor (packet capture) modes. The new features of the HP mobility hardware producte line are standards based beamforming (explicit) and band steering. There was no mention of the ability to do spectrum analysis with any of the HP access point offerings. The lack of spectrum analysis as part of their product offering does not allow the HP mobility portfolio to identify sources of interference. The HP mobility product line can only adjust the power and channel of the access point in reaction to sources of interference.
I thought the slide showing the comparison of the HPMSM410 and HPEMSM460 to the Cisco AIR-LAP1142N-A-K9 access point was a little misleading.
Mostly since the TxR:S numbers for each of the access points are not clearly stated on this slide. The Cisco 1142N access point is a 2x3:2, and the HP MSM410 is a 3x3:2 access point.
I found it interesting that the MSM410 performed only slightly better than the 1142N even though the radio in the MSM410 has three transmit and three receive antennas. The comparison difference is marked between the E-MSM460 and the Cisco 1142N due to the fact that the E-MSM460 is a 3x3:3 access point. The metrics on this chart show the E-MSM460 providing 150Mbs of throughput at a distance of 230 feet from the access point. This works out to be one access point every 1400 feet. If this distance is to be used as the gauge for the cell edge, that's a pretty dense access point deployment!
One thing I found of note was the ability of the access point to be changed into an autonomous access point just by changing the operating mode on the access point from the controller. You're not required to change the code running on the access point in order to make the access point function independent of the controller.
The HP mobility solution does not use the CAPWAP standards-based protocol for their controller based solution. HP uses a proprietary wireless protocol that is based on IAPP and using OpenVPN with UDP tunnels in order to simplify network connectivity on LANs using NAT.
This mobility announcement from HP will be great news for existing HP mobility customers, but I am doubtful that customers with an already deployed WLAN infrastructure will find enough compelling features to make the switch to the new HP E-MSM product line. However, some customers may require the cost benefit of the next day replacement that is part of the HP lifetime warranty.