Channel Layering

Meru's technology is sometimes described as single-channel because each Virtual Cell requires only one channel to provide a seamless layer of coverage across an entire network. However, this only refers to the minimum deployment. Most Meru access points offer two radios, so most real deployments use at least two channels, usually (though not necessarily) one at 2.4GHz. and one at 5GHz. Because only one channel is needed for each Virtual Cell, other channels are left free for additional Virtual Cells, letting the network grow as demands increase.

A Virtual Cell is equivalent to an Ethernet switch: a large pool of capacity split between Virtual Ports. Like Ethernet switches, virtual cells are stackable, increasing the capacity available to each user. This extra capacity can be used either to increase the bandwidth density or provide redundancy at the radio layer. Unlike a "multi-channel"microcell network, Channel Layering makes can make every channel in use available throughout the network.

  • Linear Scaling

    To activate a new channel, simply add more access points. Bandwidth scales linearly with the number of radios available, as each new channel adds as much capacity as the first. Doubling the number of access points in a given area will double the available bandwidth. And unlike in microcell networks, there is no need to adjust existing access points' channel or power settings when adding a new one, or to recalculate access point locations. Multiple access points can be positioned in the same place, reducing cabling costs and installation hassles.

  • Multiple Connectivity Options

    If one channel is degraded by interference, Channel Layering gives clients other options for network connectivity. There is no need for a Meru network to try to adapt or recalculate channel and power levels like microcell networks have to. Though perveyors of these microcell networks often claim to be "multi-channel", this refers to the number of channels consumed, not the number available. A microcell network that uses three channels still offers only one at each location. In contrast, Channel Layering makes every channel in use available network-wide.

  • Application-Aware Load Balancing

    The same Air Traffic Control technology that enables the Virtual Cell can also distribute traffic across Virtual Cells, automatically sending each client's Virtual Port to the least crowded channel. Particular Virtual Cells can also be dedicated to particular client types or applications, while load-balancing can work with Call Admission Control to ensure that voice traffic is evenly distributed among radios.