If your small to midsize business (SMB) frequently suffers from bandwidth and wireless networking congestion, Linksys has released a product specifically designed for you. The LAPAC2600 is a multiuser multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO)-enabled wireless AC access point that's built to withstand heavy-demand simultaneous bandwidth consumption.
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The LAPAC2600 (which begins at $499.99) is targeted at small offices in which video content is often streamed, large media files are downloaded, and files are frequently uploaded and downloaded via the cloud. By taking advantage of MU-MIMO technology, the LAPAC2600 is capable of simultaneously sending and receiving network monitoring data.
Most traditional routers can only send data to one device at a time. Think of it like this: they accept and send data the way humans breathe. Air comes in and then air goes out. How much more productive would you be be if you could inhale and exhale at the same time? MU-MIMO technology enables routers to maintain a steady flow of data to multiple devices at once without stopping. (Kind of like Kenny G on the alto saxophone but for your SMB's Wi-Fi network.)
"People have a positive experience with Linksys in the home and they want to use it at the business as well," said Nandan Kalle, Director of the Commercial Networking Business Unit at Linksys. "MU-MIMO makes sense for small businesses, especially if you have multiple laptops connecting, trying to print and share files."
Under the Hood
The LAPAC2600 also features 4x4 dual-band AC connectivity that operates at a rate of 2.4 and 5 GHz. Linksys claims the device can deliver 2.53 Gbps to multiple devices at once. The device features internal antennas and two Gigabit Ethernet (Gig E) ports. It can also be deployed to manage up to 16 access points through a single controller.
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"Small businesses will also benefit from clustering," Kalle said. "If you need to change your installation, we [give users] a way to link all their access points into one cluster. If you make changes, you can make them across the entire cluster."
Kalle said small businesses (which Linksys defines as 100 employees or fewer) will benefit from the ability to create up to 16 Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs). "You can have one for HR and all of the sensitive data, and one for other employees."
Linksys and MU-MIMO
Although this is Linksys's first foray into small business MU-MIMO devices, it has produced a number of home and enterprise-focused MU-MIMO devices. For example: The Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router (pictured below) is our Editors' Choice for the best wireless router of 2016. That's because it produced speedy throughput in benchmark testing, offers a nice selection of ports, and is capable of transferring 1.76 Gbps to three clients simultaneouslyn (based on our testing).
The LAPAC2600 is available starting today from Linksys distributors and resellers.