Enterasys Brings SDN to Wi-Fi Networks

    If ever there was anything trickier to manage than an 802.11 wireless network, it’s hard to imagine what that might be. Not only is usage of certain access points likely to randomly spike, applications running on these networks are nothing if not finicky.

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    Interest in Software-Defined Networking Rising Sharply

    Taken together, that might be why one of the first places any organization is going to want to employ software-defined networking (SDN) technologies is on wireless networks, rapidly becoming the primary networks used to access corporate applications.

    With that thought in mind, Enterasys, a unit of Siemens Enterprise Communications, today rolled out an extension to its IdentiFi wireless network that adds Enterasys SDN support. According to Ali Kafel, director of product marketing for Enterasys, IdentiFi Adapt will not only make the wireless network easier to manage, but also expose application programming interfaces that will give developers more control over the various elements that make up the wireless network.

    That means that, from an IT perspective, certain applications can be given priority access to wireless bandwidth over others, while certain other types of encrypted traffic can be specifically transferred in a way that, for example, meets all the compliance specifications required.

    Kafel says that with the availability of 5GHz spectrum, it’s more feasible than ever for IT organizations to treat their wireless network as the company’s primary network. But as part of that shift, Enterasys is making the case that organizations should simultaneously embrace SDN as a way to ease the transition.

    Whether organizations want to integrate the management of wired and wireless networks or manage the two in isolation, Kafel says SDN on a wireless network represents that next logical evolution of enterprise networking.

    As is often the case with new technologies, IT organizations need to find a compelling business case to embrace something new. Given the increased complexity of wireless networking, it looks like wireless networks may just be as good a place as any to get started with SDN.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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