Stressed networks equal stressed users. With nearly 15 billion connected devices vying for bandwidth today, the strain on both is only going to increase. As the number of connected devices in every industry expands, network security, privacy and management issues will continue to top the list of challenges faced by IT directors. Speed also will remain an issue.

Xirrus has unveiled a new access point designed to help solution providers improve the performance of their customers’ wireless platforms. The wireless networks developer touts its new Xtreme Density Wi-Fi (XD4) as the market’s only available four-radio 802.11ac AP. Optimized with automated RF configuration, the XD4 is also designed to deliver the fastest Wi-Fi in the industry and support four times as many users as previous gen APs, according to the company.

With most users—from corporate employees to government workers to college students—juggling at least two wireless devices, research firm Gartner urges network designers to build LANs with quadruple AP density. Over the next five years, Gartner expects the total number of devices communicating over wired and wireless networks will grow to 25 billion. Consumer usage will fuel much of that growth, but business will drive most of the revenue, Gartner noted. That spells big opportunity for solution providers.

Total revenue spent on services needed to improve, maintain and support networks—including cloud, mobile, social and IT platforms in almost all industries—will hit about $69.5 billion this year, a fraction of the $263 billion expected in 2020, according to Gartner’s forecast. By that time, utilities, manufacturing and government—the top three using the most connected devices—will deploy, 1.7 billion connected devices, about 1 billion more than the top industries in that category deploy today, Gartner predicts.

Of course, “connected devices” means much more than smartphones and tablets. In this world of the Internet of Things, they include just about any device that collects, analyzes, distributes and delivers data across a network. As the number of those devices increase, so does the strain on the network.

Xirrus developed the XD4 to address the performance challenges associated with that type of growth. Coupled with Xirrus’ XMS cloud management system, the platform automatically chooses the best bands and power level for each device on the network. Xirrus XD APs also ship with TurboXpress, which allows administrators to boost 802.11ac performance and increase wireless capacity without adding APs, according to the company. Overall, it noted, the complete XD4 solution can help reduce the amount of equipment needed by 75 percent and decreases the total cost of ownership by up to 50 percent.