Rest Easy Old Friend; Virtual Cell Is Getting the (.11)ax

All good things must come to an end.

Virtual Cell is NOT going to be part of Fortinet’s upcoming .11ax access point product line.  I’m not certain of the exact reason but it would seem that the cost of engineering a chipset with proprietary features and efficiency gains from the advancement in technology brought by the new standard, it wasn’t feasible to move forward with keeping Virtual Cell in the .11ax product line. Keep in mind that many of these advancements and efficiencies in .11ax are very closely related to the benefits that Virtual Cell was originally created to solve. Virtual Cell solved many co-channel interference issues using methods very similar to BSS coloring. Also many of the efficiency gains of OFDMA seemingly outweigh the need to continue the development of Virtual Cell within the .11ax standard.

*** Virtual Cell WILL continue to be supported in existing Virtual Cell capable access points.  Thanks to Colin Hardacre for the reminder**

As many of you know, Virtual Cell is very near to my heart. We have one of the largest Virtual Cell networks in existence and we have been very successful with it. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that Virtual Cell has been beneficial to my career. I always felt it was cool that I was able to work with technology that was different than all the others and have it work great despite what others said. The proof is in the pudding. Virtual Cell does work at scale and works very well. Although I will miss all the positives and negatives that come with going on #SingleChannelAdventures, I understand the move to discontinue Virtual Cell development going forward.

I’d like to take this time to thank Paul Lambert, Harish Gnanasambandam, Kaushik Dash, Vikas Banerjee, and Praveenkumar Subramanian for all of the support while working with Virtual Cell. The support from these guys have been invaluable while working with a network that supports upwards of 80k concurrent devices daily. I look forward to working with them as we move towards (and beyond) .11ax.

A very special thanks to Dr. Vaduvur Bharghavan, Srinath Sarang, Joseph Epstein, and Sung-Wook Han.  Without these four men, it is quite possible the wireless network industry may look a little different… especially 802.11ax.

Here is datasheet for new 802.11ax access points from Fortinet.

Check out Fortinet’s blog post about their new 802.11ax access point product line here.

4 thoughts on “Rest Easy Old Friend; Virtual Cell Is Getting the (.11)ax

  1. Thanks for the post. As an Ex-Meru employee it is a bit sad to see SCA technology fading out. I have seen how the universally available industry standards have closed the user experience gap between Microcell and Single Cell architectures, so I guess it was inevitable.


  2. Do you have any official source from Fortinet on this? And I assume this means that the FAP-U431F and FAP-U433F will not support SCA at all, regardless of the mode of the client? What will that mean for SCA APs on the same controller?


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