Archive for the ‘Xirrus’ Tag

Interview with Xirrus CEO Dirk Gates

Here is a TMCnet Video interview with the Xirrus CEO, Dirk Gates.  It was filmed at INTEROP Las Vegas 2010, which was held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center April 25th-29th.

5/11/10 NOTE: I apologize for problems originally posting the video.  Everything seems to be in order now.  🙂


Xirrus Ranked in the Top 10 of All Venture-Backed Companies

The Wall Street Journal Placed Xirrus 3rd Among Technology-based Venture-Backed Companies and 9th Among All Venture-Backed Companies

Xirrus®, the Wi-Fi “Power Play” that delivers the most coverage, bandwidth, and user density in the industry has been ranked by The Wall Street Journal 3rd among technology-based venture-backed companies and 9th among all venture-backed companies, showing once again the strength of their leadership team and continued growth in Wi-Fi networking. Xirrus’ ranking in The Wall Street Journal’s “The Next Big Thing – The Top 50 Venture-Backed Companies” was based on the success of its venture-capital investors (August Capital, Canaan Partners, Gold Hill Capital, InterWest Partners, QuestMark Partners, U.S. Venture Partners); the amount of capital raised over the last three years; the success of its founders and chief executive (Dirk Gates); the recent growth in the value of the company; and a qualitative ranking among the Dow Jones venture-capital reporters and editors.

“We are extremely pleased with the recognition by The Wall Street Journal for our leadership team and financial growth,” said Dirk Gates, founder and CEO of Xirrus. “Sales of our high performance Wi-Fi Arrays continue to grow significantly as more and more organizations see the value of Wi-Fi networking as a means to increase efficiencies of their users. Mobility is the growth area of enterprise telecommunications and Xirrus is the only Wi-Fi platform designed and implemented with the same distributed model as wired switching that puts the power and intelligence at the edge closer to the end user.”

Wi-Fi Busters Episode 1

My employer, Xirrus, is starting a series of videos called “Wi-Fi Busters”. Each episode will explore a certain myth around wireless communications. The first episode is around the myth that Wi-Fi causes adverse health effects.

This video is less than 3 minutes and is both fun and informative — check it out!

Xirrus Secures $20 Million in Additional Funding

InterWest Partners Leads Latest Investment Round in the Only Wi-Fi Power Play in the Industry

Thousand Oaks, California – December 1, 2009 – Xirrus, Inc. announced that it has secured an additional $20 million in a financing led by InterWest Partners.  This financing round brings the total investment in the company to $80 million.  Xirrus will use the new funds to bolster its reserves and strategically invest in partnerships with large integrators focused on making Wi-Fi the primary network connection for their customers.  The financing is anticipated to be the last round of private funding Xirrus will require.

“Times have changed since my last technology venture,” said Dirk Gates, founder and CEO of Xirrus (previously founder and CEO of Xircom, which was valued at more than $2.0 billion before being sold to Intel® in 2001).  “Xirrus has reached critical mass and significant customer traction with far less fanfare, yet far more substance than venture-backed companies during the 1990’s. We have quietly outpaced the competition by outperforming them on nearly every level – products, productivity and capital efficiency – as evidenced by many thousands of successful deployments, with 100% customer satisfaction, while growing at a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 250% over the past three years.”

Xirrus also announced the appointment of Khaled Nasr, Partner at InterWest Partners, to Xirrus’ board of directors.  Mr. Nasr joins current Xirrus board members Dave Marquardt of August Capital; Steve Krausz of US Venture Partners; Eric Young of Canaan Partners; Bill Schroeder, former Vice Chairman of Connor Peripherals; and Dirk Gates, president and CEO. All existing venture investors including August Capital, US Venture Partners, Canaan Partners, and QuestMark Partners participated in the round.

“We have been monitoring the Wi-Fi industry in search of a viable investment for several years, but have been dissatisfied with the lack of differentiation and leadership among the vendors,” said Khaled Nasr, Partner at InterWest. “There was one Wi-Fi vendor, however, who had the leadership, vision, and products we were looking for.  Xirrus not only has a management team with proven operational abilities, but they also have the vision and products to take Wi-Fi to the next level – to replace wired Ethernet to the desktop with wireless connectivity.”

About InterWest Partners
InterWest Partners (, founded in 1979, is a leading diversified venture capital firm focused on building long-term relationships with entrepreneurs and portfolio companies. Currently investing its tenth fund, InterWest X, a $650 million fund, InterWest has raised more than $2.8 billion of capital since inception. InterWest has a total of 13 partners and general partners in Menlo Park, CA and Dallas, TX, who bring together deep domain knowledge in life sciences and information technology.

The firm’s past successful investments in information technology include: CIENA (CIEN), Copper Mountain Networks (CMTN), Crystal Semiconductor (acquired by Cirrus Logic, CRUS), Cyrix (CYRX; acquired by National Semiconductor (NSM), Lightera (acquired by CIENA), PlaceWare (acquired by Microsoft, MSFT), SiTera (acquired by Vitesse, VTSS), Silicon Graphics (SGI), Stratacom (STRM; acquired by Cisco, CSCO) and Xilinx (XLNX).

About Xirrus
Xirrus, the only Wi-Fi “Power Play”, manufacturers the Wi-Fi Array® architecture that displaces both overlay Wi-Fi offerings and switched Ethernet and Fast Ethernet to the desktop. The Wi-Fi Array integrates 4, 8, 12, 16, or 24 802.11abg+n radios coupled to a high-gain directional antenna system into a single device along with an onboard multi-gigabit switch, Wi-Fi controller, firewall, dedicated Wi-Fi threat sensor, and an embedded spectrum analyzer. The Wi-Fi Array provides more than enough bandwidth, security, and control to replace switched Ethernet to the desktop as the primary network connection. The Xirrus Wi-Fi Array delivers the most coverage, bandwidth, throughput, and user density on a per device and per system basis than anything else available on the market today – resulting in a solution that uses 75% fewer devices, cabling, switch ports, power, space, and installation time compared with any other offering.
Xirrus is a privately-held company headquartered in Thousand Oaks, California. For more information, please visit

Xirrus – Switching: Without Wires™

Xirrus – High Performance Wi-Fi™

Xirrus – Wi-Fi Array®

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Webinar *Today* at 11am PT / 2pm ET

The Burton Group and Xirrus are offering a FREE educational webinar today (Wednesday, Dec 2nd) on the newly ratified IEEE wireless standard, 802.11n.  I delivered the Xirrus portion of this presentation at INTEROP New York a couple weeks ago, so I can tell you it’s packed with great information.  🙂

“802.11n: Lessons Learned from the First 1,000 Xirrus Installations”

Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Time: 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET / 7:00 pm UK


Paul DeBeasi, Senior Analyst, Burton Group

Kurt Sauter, Director of Product Marketing, Xirrus

The webinar is posted on the Xirrus webinars page:

You can use the below to register:

This webinar will discuss:

• Features that the first generation 11n products provide
• Site Survey Issues
• Performance Expectations
• Network and Architecture Considerations
• Client Device Considerations
• Security Issues
• Overall Recommendations

The webinar will be archived on the Xirrus website, and anyone will be able to listen/view after the live event.

Xirrus Introduces Advanced RF Security Manager (RSM) for 802.11n Networks

Intelligent Security at the Network Edge Minimizes Risk in Wi-Fi Networks

Thousand Oaks, CA – Xirrus, Inc., the only Wi-Fi “Power-Play” in the industry, announced today its advanced RF Security Manager (RSM) for improving security and minimizing the risk in deploying 802.11n wireless networks. Leveraging an integrated 24/7 threat sensor and hardware-based encryption/decryption in each Array, RSM secures the Wi-Fi network from multiple types of threats. The result delivers uncompromised overall network security with greater flexibility and performance compared to traditional centralized Wi-Fi networks.

Today’s Wi-Fi networks face a number of potential security threats in the form of rogue access points, ad-hoc clients, unauthorized clients, wireless-based attacks, eavesdropping, etc. As 802.11n continues its increased adoption in enterprise networks, the importance of defending against these threats is becoming more critical.

The Xirrus Wi-Fi Array enables the efficient deployment of high performance, maximum security 802.11n networks with a multi-radio design that integrates a dedicated 24/7 threat sensor. With this threat sensor radio scanning all channels in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrums, RSM searches for security threats and automatically mitigates them. Traditional Wi-Fi solutions must time-slice a user servicing radio with the security scan function, compromising the performance of the wireless users and the effectiveness of the security scan.

High performance encryption/decryption in the enterprise Wi-Fi network is a MUST. The Wi-Fi network needs to support each client using the highest level of encryption (WPA2 Enterprise/128 bit AES) and without degrading the overall performance of the network. The Xirrus Wi-Fi Array incorporates hardware-based encryption/decryption into each Array, delivering line-rate encryption at the edge of the network instead of at a choke point within the centralized controller of traditional Wi-Fi solutions.

“RSM provides a simple, scalable security solution that enables any organization to proactively mitigate wireless threats, enforce enterprise policies, and prevent performance problems. It offers the visibility and control over the wireless airspace needed to enable an enterprise to reliably deliver the same standards of security performance and compliance for their wireless networks that they expect from their wired networks,” said Dirk Gates, founder and CEO of Xirrus.

The RSM (RF Security Manager) package includes:

• Wireless IDS/IPS

• Wireless stateful firewall

• Line-rate encryption/decryption

• Security alerts and logging

• User group policies

• Authenticated guest access gateway

• NAC integration

• PCI audit compliance enforcement

RSM is part of a family of functionality packages for the Xirrus Wi-Fi Array, which also includes the RF Performance Manager (RPM) and RF Analysis Manager (RAM). RSM is available now in the Xirrus ArrayOS 4.0.6 software release.

Sign up for your free site survey by visiting us at or by calling 800-947-7871.

Xirrus to Deliver INTEROP’S 802.11n Network

Here is a Xirrus Press Release that I think has value to my readers (and one I am particularly excited about).  Xirrus was selected as the official wireless provider for INTEROP in both Las Vegas and New York!   I know that back in Oct 2008, Xirrus also provided a high density wireless network for Microsoft’s Professional Developer’s Conference where several industry records were broken, including:

  • Most concurrent users in a single room: 2,890
  • Most concurrent users on a single device: 562
  • Most bandwidth in a single room: 9.7 Gbps

At any rate, the INTEROP Press Release is below.


Thousand Oaks, CA – February 10, 2009 – Xirrus, Inc. the Wi-Fi “Power Play” that delivers the most wireless coverage, bandwidth, and throughput in the industry announced today that they have been selected to be the official wireless provider for Interop Las Vegas (May 17-21, 2009) and New York (November 16-20, 2009).  Xirrus will deliver the 802.11n network for Interop attendees and exhibitors throughout the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas and the Jabob K. Javits Convention Center in New York.  This is the fourth time Xirrus has been chosen as the InteropNet wireless provider due to the power and simplicity of our Wi-Fi Array platform.

“Over the past two decades, Interop has advanced the growth and evolution of the IT industry – this year is no different,” said Lenny Heymann, General Manager of Interop.  “Thanks to Xirrus, we can continue to use the latest standards like 802.11n -based network-a network that will deliver vast amounts of bandwidth to thousands of concurrent users.”

The Xirrus Wi-Fi Array integrates 4, 8, 12, 16, or 24 abg+n radios with an onboard Gigabit Switch, Wi-Fi Controller, Wi-Fi Firewall, dedicated Wi-Fi Threat Sensor, and Spectrum Analyzer into a single device.  Xirrus’ solution delivers 4X the performance and coverage along with 75% less devices, cabling, switch ports, and installation time compared to traditional access points because unlike access points the Xirrus Wi-Fi Array utilizes segmented directional antennas to better utilize and manage the RF energy of the device.

“Providing the 802.11n Wi-Fi network for this prestigious gathering of IT experts is an honor and demonstrates the strength of our Wi-Fi architecture in challenging environments such as Interop,” said Dirk Gates, Founder and CEO of Xirrus.  “Distributed Wi-Fi architectures, like the Xirrus Wi-Fi Array, are overtaking centralized architectures the same way Ethernet overtook ATM in the 1990’s.  The distributed intelligence and simplicity of our Wi-Fi Array allows us to quickly deploy a network with significantly fewer devices and provide exhibitors and attendees with the highest performance possible for voice, video, and data.”

Interop runs May 17 through 21, 2009 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Xirrus will showcase its 802.11n products at booth #1331.  More information is available at

The Next Great Wireless LAN Vendor

I wrote this as a guest post for An Information Security Place, but republished here for my readers.


Yesterday was one of the few days that I bought a hard copy of the USA Today newspaper.  I get the Arizona Republic paper delivered to the house daily. I even get six copies of the Sunday paper  (don’t ask…)  I bought it because one headline on the cover page of the USA Today caught my attention.  It was “Who Might Rise From the Wreckage” with a subtitle of “It’s happened before – Cisco and MySpace emerged in tough times.  Tech can bloom again“.

The headline and subtitle brought up a good point.   In the economic crash of the late 1980’s, Cisco began it’s rise as one of the large tech companies.  The article mentions Facebook and MySpace as companies who had a similar rise after the dot-com crash.  Personally, I remember two *other* (more relevant to networking) companies who accomplished a similar jump in market share in the wake of the dot-com crash – Foundry Networks and Extreme Networks.

This economic downturn presents the same opportunity for tech companies to rise out of the aftermath stronger than when they entered.  Who are likely candidates this go-around?   I would suggest that the opportunity is particularly ripe for Wireless LAN vendors.

Why?  There are several reasons WLAN manufacturers have an opportunity to grab market share in this economy, especially compared to their wired counterparts.  Most reasons point back to the fact that organizations are now forced to do more with less.

During these times companies…

  • need to get more out of their employees – WLANs enable their employees to be connected everywhere in their enterprise all the time
  • will not want to invest in permanent infrastructure – WLANs can easily be moved from location to location vs. desktop switches / cabling
  • will want even tighter security because of dismissed employees and competitive pressures – WLANs allow for easy deployment of 802.1X port based authentication and can execute rapid adds and deletes

Which WLAN vendor is poised to take advantage of such a situation?  Aerohive? Bluesocket? Meru? Rukus? Xirrus?  Let me know what you think in the comments section!  Be sure to state specific reasons that you think one vendor will be able to gain more market share than another.  Also, if you like this post, check out my blog for related info such as 50 Questions K-12 School Districts Should Ask WLAN Vendors.

WiFi Jedi

Xirrus is First Wireless Product for PCI Compliance Certified by VeriSign

My employer, Xirrus, had a recent press release that I thought was of value to my readers.   While somewhat of a shameless plug, it is something that I am extremely excited about!  We are the first (and only WiFi vendor to date) whose product has been certified by VeriSign for operation in a PCI network.  Maybe its the former IT auditor in me (I worked several years at Protiviti and am still an active member of ISACA), but this is fantastic news. Below is the press release:

Xirrus, Inc., the Wi-Fi “Power-Play” that delivers the most wireless coverage, bandwidth, and throughput in the industry, announces VeriSign assessment of the new features that enforce PCI-compliant configurations for the Xirrus Wi-Fi Array product line.

Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards are worldwide technical and operational requirements that were created to help organizations that process card payments prevent fraud, hacking, and other various security vulnerabilities and threats. All members of the payment card industry, including financial institutions, credit card companies, merchants (retailers, hotels, etc.), and service companies must comply with these standards if they want to accept credit cards.

“To maintain a secure network and comply with the PCI standards, companies must ensure their Wi-Fi networks are secure and automatically protect both their companies’ and their customers’ information,” said Kurt Sauter, Director of Corporate Initiatives. “The new Xirrus PCI audit mode, available in all Wi-Fi Arrays, ensures product configuration changes are compliant with PCI standards, disallows changes that would result in a non-PCI-compliant configuration, and sends notifications that identify any product that does not meet the new requirements.”

New PCI-compliant implementations that use Wi-Fi are prohibited from using WEP starting March 31, 2009 and current wireless users are required to implement strong encryption such as 802.11i after June 30, 2010. The new features are available beginning in Xirrus ArrayOS software release 3.5 and include additional security features for ensuring the utmost in wireless security including:

  • Integrated and dedicated Wi-Fi Threat Sensor for continuous monitoring of the air
  • Integrated rules-based stateful firewall
  • Reprogrammable FPGA-based encryption engines
  • Integrated Spectrum Analyzer for DoS attacks and RF analysis
  • Advanced RADIUS/802.1x user and administrator authentication
  • Captive Web Portals for guest user authentication and control
  • Penetration-tested software and hardware platform
  • FIPS 140-2 Government security certification

“Xirrus is the first Wi-Fi vendor to take their products through VeriSign’s rigorous Security Certification Methodology,” said Katie Jenkins, Senior Consulting Manager responsible for VeriSign’s Security Certification Program. “Our program confirms that Xirrus has demonstrated that it has taken reasonable and appropriate steps to identify and manage information security risks and utilize PCI information security best practices for the evaluated Xirrus Wi-Fi Array products.”

What to Include in Pre-Implementation Planning (1st in a Series of 3)

I am starting a large district wide implementation of our Xirrus arrays.  This particular deployment is 150+ arrays.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Xirrus, we aggregate from 4-24 radios (we call them integrated access points) in every device along with a non-blocking Layer 2 switch, WLAN controller, integrated threat sensor and spectrum analyzer.  Our integrated access points utilize directional antennas, which allow us to cover more area using 75% less devices than our competitors.

This is helpful to understand the scope of the project.  While we have 150+ arrays, the competing bids were for approximately 600 access points.   It is certainly not the largest WLAN rollout I have worked on, but larger than most.  My question today is “How do you plan/prepare for large deployments of new technology?”

My personal philosophy goes back to an adage that my father taught me, which was “Measure twice.  Cut once.” There are certain processes that I have used over the years.  These include both a pre-implementation call and a pre-implementation checklist.

The pre-implementation call seems more useful when I have not been involved in the sales effort and the project is being passed to me as an engineer for integration into the customer’s network.  Normally, the sales team, project manager, and implementation team get on the phone to restate the technical and business requirements of the project to ensure everyone is on the same page.  In my opinion, one of the frequently overlooked areas on this type of phone call is a definition of the project’s success criteria.

The pre-implementation checklist has been more useful to me in situations where I have been a part of the sales cycle and know the account history and requirements. What I am looking for then are the technical details – the IP addressing scheme, the naming convention, the authentication methods, the encryption schemes, etc.

I have used several different forms and versions of pre-implementation checklists.  What format do you prefer – Excel Spreadsheets or Word documents?  Ones with a higher number of detailed questions or ones with a few number of high level questions?  What area(s) do you think are often missed during the planning stage of a new project?