Virtualized WLAN boosts scalability, reduces costs, says ADTRAN

Hypervisor takes place of the physical controller
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ADTRAN has developed a virtualized wireless local access network that replaces the physical controller with a hypervisor that manages the wireless access points virtually, explained Chris Koeneman, vice president of sales for ADTRAN's BlueSocket enterprise networks division.

In an interview with FierceMobileIT at the ITExpo East--in Miami--Koeneman said that the virtual WLAN provides scalability, cost, reliability and throughput benefits over a traditional WLAN with a physical controller.

"The hidden cost in these wireless networks is not the access point but the physical controller that does all the heavy lifting. That is what we virtualized. That's why it is more economical than the traditional hardware controller," he explained.

"You create a virtual machine, download our software, which doesn't cost anything. You can control 1,500 access points around the world; they don't have to sit on the same area network," he said.

In addition, the virtualized control plane can be scaled independently of the data plane, which reduces costs, and control plane interruption does not affect the data plane, which improves reliability, he said.

ADTRAN is the only company to offer the vLAN product, although Aruba Networks and Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) have recently announced plans to offer vLAN products this year. "Over time, the market has moved to what we did two years ago," he observed.

Koeneman said that the vWLAN product is particularly attractive to enterprises with multiple sites or those already running VMware, which is what the ADTRAN product uses. "So far, we are the only ones that have the controller management running in VMware," he said.

When Wi-Fi moves to 802.11ac, which is expected in the middle of this year, there will be three to five times more throughput out of the access points. This additional throughput would require an additional controller in the traditional WLAN product, but the vLAN can handle that additional throughput without any upgrades, Koeneman explained.

For more:
- check out this ADTRAN fact sheet on vWLAN

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