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FortiAP 231F – Love that new access point smell!

FortiAP 231F access point

The exciting, brand-new Fortinet FortiAP 231F Wi-Fi 6 access point is out! Within the range of Wi-Fi 6 appliances, the FAP 231F could be considered at the entry-level, with a surprisingly friendly price for such state-of-the-art hardware.

This 2×2 MU-MIMO device has three radios, a 2.4 GHz, a 5 GHz, and a separate scanning radio. It delivers 574 Mbps and 1.2 Gbps Maximum Data Rate, respectively. There is also a Bluetooth Low Energy radio. Additionally, it has dual 1 Gbps Ethernet ports for PoE flexibility. 

Now, there’s a lot of cool features that all Wi-Fi 6 APs share in common. However, let’s talk a little about the two main features that set access points like the FAP-231F apart from earlier 802.11ac appliances. First, of course, is the fact that it’s an 802.11ax, or Wi-Fi 6 access point.

What’s so great about Wi-Fi 6?

Here’s the thing. In WiFi, bandwidth is shared among endpoint devices. And, when you are in a high-traffic area with lots of access points, their coverage areas will overlap. Think stadiums, concerts, or busy airports. So, as you walk through your airport, you can be moving from one access point to another.

Currently, your endpoint listens for an all-clear signal before transmitting. Basically, it waits its turn to speak. So here you are, moving through your airport. Your endpoint (phone) is one of maybe thousands of APs and endpoints yelling and hiccupping at each other trying to be heard. It’s sort of like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Get enough devices in the same area and efficiency and performance will suffer.

So, what WiFi 6 does, is it opens up more lines for endpoints to talk on, so they don’t have to wait as long for their turn. It also allows more data into each packet, which can increase total throughput by nearly 40%. 

Now, for the second improvement.

OFDM-what?

Another big feature in the FortiAP 231F is called OFDMA. The FAP 231F has it, and that’s a good thing. As a matter of fact, it has UL/DL OFDMA; even better. OFDMA is an extension of an earlier architecture called OFDM. Both of these divide a channel into smaller, easy-to-manage units or sub-channels, called subcarriers. Each of those sub-carriers then sends “frames,” or “packets,” consecutively to the receiver.

So here’s your access point, breaking up its bandwidth into smaller sub-carriers, and sending packets of your data in a line down each one. The thing is, every single packet has what might be thought of as a space of time in front of it. That empty space is the time your AP spends waiting it’s turn to grab a piece of bandwidth from amongst all the other devices around so it can send its data. It does this for every single packet, so each packet has some amount of empty space in it. These spaces are very small, but they add up to become noticeable.

What OFDMA does, is that it takes all those sub-carriers, each full of little packets lined up and waiting their turn to go and combines them. Now the cool thing is, each of these groups of subcarriers, full of packets, only has as much empty space with it as a single packet normally would. So technically it isn’t transferring data any faster, just more efficiently, and with a lot less ‘empty space’ to slow things down.

As a result, your FAP 231F delivers a lot less latency, and a lot better coverage. In addition, you experience lower interference and improved flexibility. This leads to increased overall efficiency in small-packet applications in dense environments.

Is the FAP 231F a good fit for me?

The FAP 231F is ideal in homes and small businesses with intensive internet usage. In addition, it will be good for high-density public environments. Since it’s designed for faster browsing and downloading from mobile devices, companies with 5G deployments and offices with high-bandwidth usage would also benefit. It can be managed either by the built-in WLAN controller of your FortiGate, or the easy-to-navigate FortiAP Cloud portal.

But since we’re premier Fortinet specialists, Corporate Armor is your best bet if you want to find out more about the FortiAP 231F. Our advice will be driven by your unique needs, nothing more.

So please reach out to us here, or call 877-449-0458. We can’t wait to serve you!