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vWLAN Impact on the SMB Market

By:Christine Fettinger

I recently attended Adtrans big annual product tour and got an earful about what is up and coming from the company. The most persistent topic is their new vWLAN technology they recently acquired from BlueSocket. The company is calling it “A Next Generation Wireless Solution”, so how can they make this claim?

If a company has more than one wireless access point, they then need a controller to “guide” these points on how to interact. This has numerous implications, a few major ones are listed below:

– Unwanted traffic actually enters the LAN through the thin, unintelligent access point.

~ Only after that traffic reaches the controller is it discarded.

– Scalability is restricted to a single purpose device (the hardware controller).

– Any failure in the control plane interrupts the data plane.

– Control traffic and data traffic both flow up to the controller chewing up bandwidth.

Rather than keep building bigger & better controllers, BlueSocket took a completely different path and virtualized the controller entirely. This allows the control plane to effectively run at the access point, eliminating the issues listed above.

So where is the big news?

For anyone familiar with Adtran, this is not really news. What is new is the spin Adtran is attempting to put on BlueSocket’s product. The logic goes: If the controllers can be run in a VMWare environment by the customer, why can’t we have MSPs and Outsourced IT firms hosting these instances in a “cloud-style” way. If done correctly, Managed Service Providers would be able to walk into a business, lay down a few access points, remote in a few commands back home, and the location is up and running. This was when CyberStreams got interested.

We are currently testing this concept in our own VMWare environment and are excited about the results. We’d also love to have feedback from readers. Does eliminating controllers and going to a PaaS style model seem attractive to you? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Thanks!