Wi-Fi architectures evolving to address distributed enterprise

With corporate enterprises become less physically and geographically monolithic--as well as more distributed and virtualized--it makes sense for the Wi-Fi networks of old to evolve, too. And, according to Network World, many vendors are now targeting this market, too.

The new approaches are looking to replace the traditional method of deploying Wi-Fi in the enterprise--the model of using a centralized controller for thin access points deployed throughout a large building--with architectures that either virtualize the controller function or integrate it with the access points.

These solutions bring a greater degree of flexibility to enterprise Wi-Fi networks and reduce the amount of configuration required to set up Wi-Fi coverage.

Vendors such as Meraki and Bluesocket have been tackling this evolution for a while, and this week Aruba Networks announced an upgrade to its own approach. Aruba's Instant Enterprise, which is an enterprise Wi-Fi solution without controllers, now has new features allows it to support more user roaming and other functions. The upgrade also includes a cloud-based provisioning service called Aruba Activate, which further reduces the reliance on an enterprises IT staff to dedicate resources for configuration of distributed Wi-Fi coverage.

More new approaches are likely to emerge, and as everyone also is talking about software-defined networking for network virtualization, this sounds like another area in which SDN will come in handy. As more vendors concepts emerge, this may be an area in which ambitious service providers could play, perhaps helping enterprises manage the complexities of deploying widely distributed Wi-Fi coverage.

For more:
- check out this Network World post

Related articles:
Meraki ran a Cash-for-Wireless LAN Clunkers promo a few years ago
Aruba has benefited from smartphones accessing enterprise Wi-Fi