New standard improves control of WLAN

What do enterprises want? They want to control their networks, but in enterprise-class 802.11 deployments the control of the network is limited to the infrastructure (wireless switches, APs). What about wireless client devices such as laptops, PDAs and wVoIP phones? Well, network administrators have no control over them. The IEEE wants to remedy that by proposing 802.11v, a standard for wireless network management. The standard defines procedures by which a wireless infrastructure may exert control over key parameters on wireless client adapters--for example, identifying which network or AP they should connect to. The IEEE team has been developing the standard for close to a year now, and it will likely be finalized by early 2008. Of course, clients (WLAN cards, adapters) and infrastructure (AP, WLAN switches) will have to support it for it to be meaningful.

802.11v will do load balancing to distribute wireless clients among APs; it will enable secure client configurations from the infrastructure, cutting deployment time in large-scale networks, and a plan to save battery life on low-powered devices will likely be added. Enterprises were looking for something like 802.11v, and now they will not to wait for much longer.

For more on 802.11v:
- see Sudheer Matta's Network World report
For a status report on 802.11v:
- see the IEEE Web site

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