Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

The future of wireless networking architecture

Intelligence at the network edges

Article comments

With ever more devices needing greater throughput for video and voice content, today's wireless hub-and-spoke network architecture is showing its age. What's needed is a wireless LAN (WLAN) solution capable of greater intelligence at the network's edge to optimise traffic flow without compromising security or quality of service and driving up cost.

The hub-and-spoke innovation was in routing traffic through, and enforcing security at, the wireless controller. However, the controller is now becoming the bottleneck for throughput and security enforcement as throughput needs rise.  Trying to address this bottleneck using traditional WLAN solutions ultimately means an "either/or" trade-off: either a significant new investment in additional wireless controllers and wired switches or a greatly reduced QoS and user experience.

To take a step forward, what's needed is a "both-and" solution without compromise, one that helps you unleash the full advantages of your existing 802.11n investment. Such architecture could maximise network performance and traffic without compromising QoS for video and voice features, security, mobility or survivability, while at the same time minimising both capital and operational expenditures for a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

This requires a fundamentally different model: an architecture that provides more intelligent routing at the perimeter of the network than the centralised hub-and-spoke model. This can be achieved with a more intelligent perimeter, using smart, adaptive wireless access points to offload some of the higher order intelligence and functionality of the controller itself.

Distributed intelligence allows more of the on-site data flow to be routed internally on the edge of the network using the 11n access points, rather than sending that data to the wireless controller and back. It maintains the strength of the entire WLAN infrastructure, while increasing the ability of the "spokes" to communicate directly with one another along an optimal path, even prioritizing more critical data (such as VoIP and video) while providing full security and mobility services.

Not all 802.11n solutions are created equal, however. They can vary greatly in their range of capabilities. How well do access points interact with controllers for instance? How many controllers are needed? What are the power requirements? How does the survivability of the system compare?

A more adaptive, reliable and intelligent architecture takes factors like these into consideration. It leverages the network's distributed intelligence to help unlock the full value of 802.11n solutions so they can both deliver a better quality of experience and make IT budgets go further.

By having more intelligence in the access points, during outages these access points can also serve a bridging function to reduce latencies. Since security is as important to the organisation as solid network coverage and availability, it is important to make sure that any distributed architecture has enough application awareness to be self-healing without dropping VoIP calls and that it is able to deliver the same firewall capabilities as hub-and-spoke to avoid compromising QoS.

This helps maintain network services throughout outages, ensuring the organisation and its assets continue to benefit from continued local QoS prioritisation, authentication, security policies and direct routing as well as backhaul failover to 3G.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *