With the latest version of its popular NWA1123 series of access points, Zyxel is introducing a new square casing design that leaves behind the previous ‘smoke detector’ look – Patrick Hirscher, EMEA Wireless Market Development Manager at Zyxel, explains why.
At Zyxel we pride ourselves on listening carefully and acting upon feedback from our customers and partners. A few years ago, when WiFi started getting really popular, we were getting a lot of requests for access points that could be deployed discretely around a building. Hotels, guest houses, restaurants, and other places which the general public would be visiting on a frequent basis, were really keen on this idea.
Zyxel came up with the concept of making our access points look like smoke detectors. This moment of inspiration sparked off the development of a whole series of devices. The NWA1123 range has since become one of Zyxel’s best-selling lines.
It may seem remarkable now, but eight years ago, when the first NWA1123 was released, many people were concerned about the safety of wireless signals. They would be worried if they saw access points with LEDs constantly blinking on and off, located on the walls or ceiling in a hotel or some other public area.
By making our access points resemble smoke detectors, our customers were able to install them where they were needed without the risk that guests or visitors might be wary of their presence. We also made it easy to turn off the LED indicators.
The NWA1123 soon became popular – but only because it looked like a smoke detector. It also provided great performance, range, and reliability. Over the years we have updated and enhanced the series to take incorporate advances in wireless technologies and standards. When we added Nebula Flex with v2, it became even more successful.
But perceptions change. No-one is worried about the potential health impact of WiFi anymore. Everyone knows that it is perfectly safe. Indeed, it is regarded as an essential service in all public places. If access points are clearly visible, that’s not a problem – and flickering LEDs may be seen as a positive sign.
This is why it’s finally time to say goodbye to the NWA1123’s ‘smoke detector’ casing design. It has served us and our customers well. But time and technology have moved on. The latest 802.11ac chipsets deliver excellent performance and the smaller, squarer design that we are introducing with the NWA1123-ACv3 allows us to use high-powered antennas to provide even better range and more stable connections for all users.
In addition, the new model comes with all the benefits of the Wave 2 technology. It can support a combined data rate of up to 1.2 Gbps and, of course, it also comes with full support for NebulaFlex, so you can manage the access point as a stand-alone device, or from the cloud.
The new NWA1123ACv3 access point can still be attached to walls and ceilings – and it looks really good too. But there is no need for it to imitate a smoke detector anymore.