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What is MU-MIMO wireless technology?

Did you know that wireless technology dates back to the 19th century? Through the years, great inventors like Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla helped mold the concepts and theories behind electromagnetic radio frequency (RF).

It wasn’t until 1997, however, that the first 802.11 technology was introduced, which is known as the 802.11 legacy standard today. Since then, each new standard either introduced new technology or significantly improved over an older one.

The same holds true for 802.11ac technology. 802.11ac Wave 1 offered a significant enhancement over its predecessor, 802.11n. 802.11ac Wave 1 provided higher channel bandwidth and a new modulation scheme, significantly increasing the max data rates.

The Wave 2 wireless standard

Technology is always replaced and improved upon. Here, 802.11ac Wave 1 technology was replaced by today’s 802.11ac Wave 2 technology. With technologies like the Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), increased channel width and more spatial streams (SS) than ever before to make Wave 2 technology a game-changer. Even though the theoretical maximum data rate as per the Wave 2 standard is 6.9 Gbps (8SS AP), the theoretical maximum with a 4SS access point (AP) is 3.5 Gbps.

Specs802.11n802.11ac Wave 1802.11ac Wave 2
Frequency band2.4 GHz and 5 GHz5 GHz5 GHz
MIMO supportSU-MIMOSU-MIMOMU-MIMO
Max channel width40 MHz80 MHz160 MHz
Max Spatial streams448
Modulation64-QAM256-QAM256-QAM
Beamformingimplicit and explicitexplicitexplicit
Backward compatibility11a/b/g11a/b/g/n11a/b/g/n
Max data rates600 Mbps1.7 Gbps6.9 Gbps

Compare the evolution of wireless capabilities from 802.11n to today’s Wave 2 standard.

What is MU-MIMO and how is it different from SU-MIMO?

MU-MIMO is a Wave 2 technology. With Single User Multiple Input Multiple Output (SU-MIMO), the AP is able to talk to only one client at a time. However, with MU-MIMO technology the AP can now transmit up to four devices at a time in the downstream direction.

Talking to more devices in a single transmission decreases airtime, increases efficiency and delivers a better user experience. For MU-MIMO to work, both the AP and the client must support the technology. Since the 11ac Wave 2 technology is backwards-compatible, if the Wave 2 AP has to transmit to a Wave 1 device it will fall back to the Wave 1 technology and use SU-MIMO to transmit.

MU-MIMO improves wireless speed, performance

Faster data transmission with MU-MIMO improves efficiency and ensures more airtime for all clients.  802.11ac Wave 2 enhancements lead to faster data rates, providing higher throughputs, better performance and user experience.

With a 4SS AP, operating on 160MHz channel, sending data to a 3SS client device, the maximum data rate that can be achieved is 2.6 Gbps. However, this is the maximum theoretical data rate. For reference, the latest Apple MacBook Pro is a 3SS 802.11ac Wave 1 device. The MacBook Air is a 2SS 802.11ac Wave 1 device and the Galaxy S3 is a 1SS 802.11ac Wave 1 device.

Overall, MU-MIMO increases network capacity and throughput. This allows the wireless network to meet the rising demand for data-hungry applications. Since the wireless access point can talk to multiple devices at the same time, the number of devices in the queue decreases, resulting in reduced wait time and latency. Increase in the overall network capacity and reduced latency benefits not just the Wave 1 and Wave 2 devices, but also the legacy clients. More than one client is needed to take advantage of MU-MIMO.

Specs1SS2SS3SS4SS
4SS, 80MHz43386713001733
4SS, 160MHz867173326003466

Wave 2 access point data rates in Mbps with different client types.

What happens during MU-MIMO transmission?

A MU-MIMO-capable AP sends a sounding signal to the client devices in the network. Each of the clients sends back a Channel State Information (CSI) based on the information it receives from the sounding signal. The AP calculates the phase and signal strength based on the CSI it receives from each client and selects the MU-MIMO-capable devices that can be grouped in one transmission.

Does MU-MIMO rely on any external factors?

Yes, MU-MIMO relies heavily on multipath and beamforming. Multipath is the process of two or more signals reaching the client at the same time or within nanoseconds of each other. Multipath happens due to RF barriers like walls, metal surfaces and concrete that cause the signals to reflect, refract, etc. Beamforming, however, directs the signal in the direction of the client.

Is it the right time to buy 802.11ac Wave 2 or should I wait for 802.11ax?

According to multiple analyst sources, the Wi-Fi market is not slowing down. For instance, IHS forecasts 11ac Wave 2 technology to increase 12 percent annually for the next three years. There are a number of Wave 2-capable devices in the market today and this will increase in the near future.

Should you wait for 802.11ax? The answer is simple: no. You are looking at a couple of years for the full-fledged adoption of 11ax products. The standard in itself is expected to be ratified in late 2019 after which it needs to pass interoperability testing by Wi-Fi Alliance.

Once manufacturers release 11ax-capable APs that are certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, mainstream adoption will occur, which is expected to be around 2020. At the same time, 11ax-capable client devices are required to reap the full benefits of the 11ax network. For the next couple of years, 11ac Wave 2 technology will remain the next-gen wireless connectivity standard.

Where can I buy Wave 2 wireless access points?

SonicWall SonicWave Wave 2 access points (432i/432e/432o 802.11ac) provide all the benefits of Wave 2 technology. You can expect superior performance and reliability with these access points. MU-MIMO technology enables SonicWave 400 series access points to transmit up to four devices at the same time.

To implement best practices in wireless networking and wireless security, download our complimentary technical brief, “SonicWall Wireless Network Security.” Learn how SonicWall wireless network security solutions can alleviate performance and security concerns, enabling you to extend your business network without jeopardizing its integrity.

SonicWall PEAK17 Partner Roadshow Touring Europe

19-City Tour Brings SonicWall Enablement, Networking to EMEA Partners

It’s no secret that SonicWall is committed to its partner community. The latest testament to this dedication is the PEAK17 partner roadshow, which is currently on a 19-city European tour that launched in March.

The annual roadshow takes SonicWall right to the partners to deliver updates to the SonicWall SecureFirst partner program, news on SonicWall SonicOS 6.5 launch, market momentum, new marketing tools and more.

“We have been working together with SonicWall for 15 years, but this power of innovation is the greatest we’ve ever seen,” said Ralf Leibmann of CONCIPIA GmbH, a SonicWall partner. “Especially as a managed security provider, we are very happy to have a professional partner like SonicWall that leads us to be one of the greatest MSPs in Germany.”

In September, the roadshow started its second leg by visiting Wien, Austria; Essen, Germany; Bern, Switzerland; and Ulm, Germany. The next stop will be Oct. 3 in Stockholm, Sweden. The 2017 roadshow will conclude on Nov. 11 in Paris, France.

“It was a great event with brand-new, first-hand information from representatives and partners,” said Werner Lenz of LENZ IT & NetWorking Solutions. “A big thanks to SonicWall for being a reliable partner over the years. It enabled us to continuously expand our business and build strong relationships to our customers.”

Upcoming stops will be highlighted by keynote sessions from SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner (UK and Italy), dedicated channel strategy sessions from Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Steve Pataky (UK and Italy), and exclusive product updates from Executive Director of Product Management Dmitriy Ayrapetov (UK, Italy, Ireland and Germany).

Each day-long event will feature product-specific positioning sessions – new NSA 2650 firewall and SonicWave Wireless Access Points, marketing and partner enablement updates, and professional service presentations. The roadshow — featuring popular social events like cooking classes, wine tasting, theatre visits and escape rooms — is the perfect opportunity to learn best practices for engaging prospects, exceeding customer expectations and growing revenue opportunities.

“I really enjoyed the experience to attend the PEAK17 Partner Roadshow in Essen in a nice location,” said choin! CEO Boris Wetzel, a SonicWall gold partner in Germany. “It was an excellent event with great updates on products and roadmap. It is great to see the changes and the commitment from SonicWall.”

This is the roadshow’s second trip through Europe in 2017. Earlier in the year, SonicWall hosted partner events in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. This drove SonicWall’s European partner outreach program to 19 cities for the year.

Honoring SonicWall Partners

At the PEAK17 events in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, SonicWall hosted award ceremonies to honor the region’s most successful partners.

Germany

  • SonicWall Distributor 2017: Infinigate
  • SonicWall Most Valuable Partner 2017: Axsos
  • SonicWall Security Project 2017: Kodak with Partner Axsos
  • SonicWall MSSP 2017: Concipia
  • SonicWall Mittelstandspartner 2017: Tarador

Switzerland

  • SonicWall Partner of the Year 2017: Vitodata

Austria

Attend PEAK 17

If you’re interested in attending an upcoming PEAK17 roadshow event in Europe or Africa, please reference the table below and register for a city near you.

City Country Date Registration
Wien Austria 13.09.2017 Complete
Essen Germany 19.09.2017 Complete
Bern Switzerland 20.09.2017 Complete
Ulm Germany 21.09.2017 Complete
Stockholm Sweden 03.10.2017 Complete
London United Kingdom 04.10.2017 Complete
Madrid Spain 04.10.2017 Complete
Florence Italy 05.10.2017 Complete
Dublin Ireland 06.10.2017 Complete
Hamburg Germany 10.10.2017 Complete
Johannesburg South Africa 19.10.2017 Complete
Nantes France 07.11.2017 Register
Paris France 09.11.2017 Register

SonicWall Delivers More Speed, Security Across Entire Portfolio

New SonicWall NSA 2650 Firewall, and SonicWave Access Points Take Security, Speed and Analytics to Elite Levels

Defending your business is job No. 1. But with so many vectors and end points, it’s an arduous challenge to identify and mitigate known and unknown threats across multiple locations, networks and endpoints — particularly as the need for wireless and mobile access scales to untold heights.

It’s this amalgamation of technology that makes SonicWall’s latest announcement so intriguing. It’s not another product. It’s not just a new service. It’s not only a refined dashboard and interface.

The innovation here is keenly focused on integrating each of these advanced “ingredients” into a powerful platform that helps businesses automate real-time breach detection and prevention while exceeding speed and performance expectations.

An ‘Absolutely Superb’ Firewall

If you missed the announcement, “SonicWall Turbocharges Innovation with Unprecedented Delivery of New Wireless, Mobile and Wired Network Security Products,” this platform approach is central to how SonicWall proactively defends its end customers.

In fact, we allowed customers to beta test the new products in real-world situations. The feedback was resounding, particularly for the new SonicWall NSA 2650 firewall and our range of new SonicWall SonicWave access points, which deliver elite speeds via the 802.11ac Wave 2 standard.

“The new NSA 2650 is an absolutely superb product,” said Dr. Michael Breen, Dean of Arts at Mary Immaculate College. “In my opinion, the speed and level of security is unparalleled in its class. It gives us the throughput to conduct deep packet inspection (DPI) of encrypted traffic without costing us any loss of performance.”

The NSA 2650 firewall enables threat prevention over 2.5 gigabit Ethernet wired and 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless networks, supports twice the number of DPI connections and offers 12,000 DPI SSL connections, an increase of 12X.

“Protecting sensitive information and preventing security breaches is paramount,” said Breen. “Our network contains highly private student information and we must conform to EU GDPR (European Union General Data Protection Regulation) protocols. We see over a thousand suspect probes at our gateway every week from eastern Europe. We need to lock down access to only authorized users. We’re also concerned with threats hidden in an increasingly high proportion of encrypted traffic.”

SonicOS Goes Modern

There’s nothing like a fresh UI. Our teams have worked tirelessly to re-envision everything about our popular operating system, SonicOS. Featuring more than 50 improvements and enhancements — not to mention a modern look and feel — SonicOS 6.5 is the biggest customer-driven release in company history.

“SonicWall products have always been very good, but the new SonicOS 6.5 is a giant step forward,” said Greg Thomas, owner of ComLogic, a SonicWall partner. “SonicWall is clearly visionary, not just in protection, but in analytics and usability as well. The new UI is fresh, relevant and easy to use.”

The most apparent change you’ll notice is the slimmed navigation, which now places emphasis on three of the most important functionalities: Monitor, Investigate and Manage.

“The biggest thing you’ll notice is that we’ve moved the navigation around,” said SonicWall senior UX and product design lead Tara Kelly. “We’ve done this to separate all the tasks that you need to do in three macro categories. This takes what used to be a giant menu on the left-hand side and breaks them down into smaller, bite-sized tasks.”

SonicOS offers all the standard features and capabilities you’d expect in easy, convenient locations. This includes everything from logs, reports and tools to upgrades, connectivity breakouts, systems setups and security configurations.

We will have more on SonicOS 6.5 in the future, including detailed overviews and walkthroughs.

Real-Time Analytics for Firewalls & Access Points

Each and every administrator, architect, analyst and cyber security pro wants to make better decisions faster. We want to be confident, smarter and decisive. Unfortunately, we don’t always have actionable data when we need it. In many cases, we have too much data that’s unorganized and unusable.

The new SonicWall Cloud Analytics application will help solve this everyday challenge. The intelligence-drive engine features real-time data presented in a structured, meaningful, actionable and easily consumable manner. You’ll be able to monitor, record, analyze and report security data for deep forensic analysis across multiple SonicWall firewalls and SonicWave wireless access points.

Our goal is to truly empower security teams, analysts, auditors, boards, C-suites and stakeholders to discover, interpret, prioritize and take appropriate defensive actions against both known and unknown cyberattacks or threats. Smarter decisions faster.

An extension of the recently introduced SonicWall Cloud Global Management System (GMS), SonicWall Cloud Analytics provides extensive drill-down investigative and forensic capabilities for deep security data analysis, including traffic, applications, threats, and user behavior and activities.

SonicWall SonicWave Is New Standard for Wireless Speed

As the number of applications and data-heavy services grow, so do speed demands. Based on the high-performance Wave 2 802.11ac standard, the new SonicWave access points couple speed, reliability, range, consistency and security into a single, cost-effective appliance.

Wave 2 represents the evolution from the Wave 1 802.11ac standard, which is fairly common in both enterprise and consumer environments. It operates on the 5 Ghz band and can deliver speeds up to 1.3 Gbps.

In contrast, Wave 2 supports multiple users, multiple inputs and multiple outputs (MU-MIMO) and is able to deliver speeds that exceed 3 Gbps. For this reason, the new SonicWave access points feature 4×4 MU-MIMO technology for best-in-class Wi-Fi performance, range and reliability.

“The new SonicWave access points blew me away,” says Spencomp Solutions security specialist Dominic Valois. “The new SonicWave line presents us with a great offering for our customers. With Wave 2 support and 2.5 GbE ports, we can provide larger business sites and campuses with better streaming and bandwidth for hundreds of wireless devices.”

The sentiment from Valois was echoed by Greg Thomas, the owner of ComLogic, a SonicWall partner based in Denver, Colo.

“The 2.5 GbE ports on both the NSA 2650 and SonicWave access points can handle the increasing congestion,” said Thomas. “You can easily position the SonicWave access points for best cellular reception, either for failover or percentage of use.”

Protecting the Mobile Workforce

When employees are on the road, they require secure access to the same systems and applications they trust when on Wi-Fi or wired networks in the office. Not only must access be available anywhere, anytime and on any device, speed and security cannot be compromised.

This truth was the precipitous behind the new SonicWall Secure Mobile Access (SMA) 12.1, which helps enable access to business-critical internal and external apps for employees and partners.

For remote users, vendors and third-party contractors, SMA 12.1 provides policy- enforced secure access to email, file servers and corporate applications using federated single sign-on (SSO) to both cloud and on-premise resources from authenticated devices.

In addition to SSL encryption of sensitive user sessions, SMA provides an additional layer of security by scanning all remote file uploads with the SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) service. This helps ensure remote users have the same level of protection from zero-day threats when they are on the road as they have in the office.

Go Faster, Go Safer

If you’d like to learn more about the new security products and services that deliver unprecedented speed and security, please explore the dedicated product pages and resources:

Ready to make the jump to one of the new products or services? SonicWall is ready to help. If you don’t have a SonicWall partner, or are unsure, please contact SonicWall directly. We always welcome new members to the SonicWall family.