Managing Wireless Access Point Density

Michael Vizard

Anybody that has rolled out a wireless network beyond a single office can tell you how complicated the process of deploying and then managing these networks really is.

The basic issue comes down to making sure that access points don't step on each other's radio frequency and that no one access point is overloaded in terms of the number of users accessing the 802.11 network.

But the real problem, says Xirrus CEO Dirk Gates, is that the architecture being used to deploy most wireless networks today is fundamentally flawed. Rather than deploying and then trying to manage a host of access points via a few controllers, Gates argues that we need to consolidate access points in a way that makes them easy to manage without compromising the scalability of the network.

To that end, Xirrus has created a Wi-Fi Array that can consolidate as many as 16 access points in a single box using an approach that is modeled more on how carriers manage large-scale cellular network than it is on the way a consumer deploys an access point in their home.

As wireless networks increasingly become the primary way users access the corporate network in the enterprise, network managers need a more efficient approach to managing these networks.

There's a lot of contention among the providers of wireless networks these days over who has the best architecture. It's unclear who will ultimately win this battle. But most of the wireless networks installed today were never meant to be the primary method of accessing the corporate network, which means most of them won't be able to stand up to the rigors of everyday usage in the enterprise as the number of wireless devices continues to proliferate.

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